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'."Ench Eel 1315 




Alexander Sergjyeyevich Pushkin 

Rendered into English Verse by 

With Preface by 

(Minister Plenipotentiary in England) 






By G. Nabokoff 

The average educated Eussian is intensely fond of poetry, 
literature, and music. Everyone has his favourite poet, 
writer, or musician, but there is one poet whose immeasurable 
superiority over all others is universally acknowledged in 
Eussia. That poet is Alexander Pushkin ; most Eussians 
believe that Pushkin is the greatest poet that ever lived. We 
not only admire him, we worship him ; he stands apart. There 
is no other poet as versatile as Pushkin — lyrics, epic, satire, 
novels, historical drama, ballads, fairy tales in verse, he has 
left masterpieces in every one of these forms of art, so we 
believe. And of all he has written, with the one possible 
exception of his romance in verse, Evgueni Onieguine, the 
drama Boris Godundv is thought to be his greatest work. 

Pushkin, an exile living on his estate near Pskof, read the 
History of Russia by our first great historian Karamzin, and 
was particularly interested in the period of Eussian history 
which preceded the so-called ' Troubled Times ' the first 
decade of the seventeenth century. This period offers indeed 
ample material for historical drama or chronicle. Pushkin's 
$esire to dramatise the narrative of Karamzin was further 
stimulated by the study of Shakespeare, whose tragedies he 
undoubtedly accepted as a model. The influence of Shake- 
speare on Pushkin's work was so far-reaching that it deserves 
a special study which is, however, outside the scope of these 

Boris Godundv, in inspiration, in its general structure, in 
the masterful intuition of historical atmosphere, so closely 
resembles Shakespeare's great tragedies that one is almost 

vi Preface 

tempted to describe this drama as an adaptation of Shakespeare 
to Russian history. This resemblance never appeared so 
striking to me as when I read Mr Hayes' translation, in itself 
a work of the loftiest kind. I confess that when I first 
received Mr Hayes' manuscript, I was not free from misgivings. 
There are certain passages in Boris Godunov, namely, the 
scene in Pimen's cell, the dialogue between the Pretender and 
Marina, known as the ' Scene by the Fountain,' and the 
monologue of Boris, ' I have attained supreme power,' which 
Russians have always considered untranslatable and the 
music of the Russian language in these scenes impossible to 
render in any other language. Mr Hayes has achieved the 

I have no doubt that the reader who is not acquainted with 
the original will appreciate the beauty of Mr Hayes' inspira- 
tion ; for myself, I can pay no higher tribute to his achieve- 
ment than by saying that the translation is worthy of the 

The scenic production of Boris Godunov is an extremely 
difficult task, as no less than twenty-four changes of scenery 
are required if the drama is to be produced as it is written. 
A revolving stage alone affords this possibility. Boris is not, 
therefore, a ' piece du repertoire ' in Russia, and an effort of 
even greater magnitude would be necessary for the production 
in England. Nevertheless, it is to be hoped that Mr Hayes' 
remarkable translation will gain wide popularity in this 
country. For the last three years much has been done to 
promote the study of Russian art and literature in Great 
Britain and to spread the knowledge of the Russian language. 
Mr Hayes' translation of Boris Godunov will undoubtedly be of 
much value to teachers of Russian in England. 



The thanks of the translator are due to Dr Louis Segal for his 
valuable help in the revision of this work, and to Professor 
Granville Bantock at whose suggestion it was undertaken. 

A. H. 


Boris Godunov, afterwards Tsar. 

Prince Shuisky ) » • w 

Prince Vobotinsky [*""«»» **«. 

Shchelkalov, Russian Minister of State. 

Father Pimen, an old monk and chronicler. 

Gregory Otrepiev, a young monk, afterwards the Pretender to 

the throne of Russia. 
The Patriarch. Abbot op the Chudov Monastery. 
Missail ) •, . r • 
Varlaam l^^nn^ friars. 

Athanasius Mikailovich Pushkin, friend of Prince Shuisky. 

Fe6dor, young son of Boris Godunov. 

Semy6n Nikitich Godunov, secret agent of Boris Godunov. 

Gabriel Pi'jshkin, nephew of A. M. Piishkin. 

Prince Kurbsky ),. . , ^ . , 

Khrushchov \ disgraced Russian nobles. 

Karela, a Cossack. 

Prince Vishnevetsky. Mnishek, Governor ofSambor. 

Basmanov, a Russian officer. 

Marzheret I tf -., jy . j 

Rozen J °Jf lcers °f ™ e Pretender. 

Dimitry, the Pretender, formerly Gregory Otrepiev. 

Mosalsky, a Boydr. 

Ksenia, daughter of Boris Godunov. Nurse of Ksenia. 

Marina, daughter of Mnishek. 

Rouzya, tire-woman of Ksenia. Hostess of tavern. 

Boydrs, The People, Inspectors, Officers, Attendants, Guests, 
a Boy in attendance on Prince Shuisky, a Catholic Priest, a 
Polish Noble, a Poet, an Idiot, a Beggar, Gentlemen, Peasants, 
Guards, Russian, Polish, and German Soldiers, a Russian 
Prisoner of War, Boys, an old Woman, Ladies, Serving-women. 

* The list of Dramatis Personce, which does not appear in the original has 
been added for the convenience of the reader — A.H. 




(February 20th, a.d. 1598) 


Vorotinsky. To keep the city's peace, that is the task 
Entrusted to us twain, but you forsooth 
Have little need to watch ; Moscow is empty ; 
The people to the Monastery have flocked 
After the patriarch. What thinkest thou % 
How will this trouble end ? 

Shuisky. How will it end ? 

That is not hard to tell. A little more 
The multitude will groan and wail, Boris 
Pucker awhile his forehead, like a toper 
Eyeing a glass of wine, and in the end 
Will humbly of his graciousness consent 
To take the crown ; and then — and then will rule us 
Just as before. 


2 Boris Godimov 

Vorotinsky. A month has flown already 

Since, cloistered with his sister, he forsook 
The world's affairs. None hitherto hath shaken 
His purpose, not the patriarch, not the boyars 
His counsellors ; their tears, their prayers he heeds not ; 
Deaf is he to the wail of Moscow, deaf 
To the Great Council's voice ; vainly they urged 
The sorrowful nun- queen to consecrate 
Boris to sovereignty ; firm was his sister, 
Inexorable as he ; methinks Boris 
Inspired her with this spirit. What if our ruler 
Be sick in very deed of cares of state 
And hath no strength to mount the throne ? What 
say'st thou ? 

Shuisky. I say that in that case the blood in vain 
Flowed of the young tsarevich, that Dimitry 
Might just as well be living. 

Vorotinsky. Fearful crime ! 

Is it beyond all doubt Boris contrived 
The young boy's murder ? 

Shuisky. Who besides % Who else 

Bribed Chepchugov in vain ? Who sent in secret 
The brothers Bityagovsky with Kachalov ? 

Boris Godunov 3 

Myself was sent to Uglich, there to probe 

This matter on the spot ; fresh traces there 

I found ; the whole town bore witness to the crime : 

With one accord the burghers all affirmed it ; 

And with a single word, when I returned, 

I could have proved the secret villain's guilt. 

VorotInsky. Why didst thou then not crush him ? 

Shuisky. At the time, 

I do confess, his unexpected calmness, 
His shameless ness, dismayed me. Honestly 
He looked me in the eyes ; he questioned me 
Closely, and I repeated to his face 
The foolish tale hiimelf had whispered to me. 

Vorotinsky. An ugly business, prince. 

Shuisky. What could I do ? 

Declare all to Feodor ? But the tsar 
Saw all things with the eyes of Godunov, 
Heard all things with the ears of Godunov ; 
Grant even that I might have fully proved it, 
Boris would have denied it there and then, 
And I should have been haled away to prison, 
And in good time— like mine own uncle— strangled 

4 Boris Godunov 

Within the silence of some deaf -walled dungeon. 
I boast not when I say that, given occasion, 
No penalty affrights me. I am no coward, 
But also am no fool, and do not choose 
Of my free will to walk into a halter. 

Vorotinsky. Monstrous misdeed ! Listen ; I warrant you 
Remorse already gnaws the murderer ; 
Be sure the blood of that same innocent child 
Will hinder him from mounting to the throne. 

Shuisky. That will not baulk him ; Boris is not so timid ! 
What honour for ourselves, ay, for all Russia ! 
A slave of yesterday, a Tartar, son 
By marriage of Maliuta, of a hangman, 
Himself in soul a hangman, he to wear 
The crown and robe of Monomakh ! 

Vorotinsky. You are right ; 

He is of lowly birth ; we twain can boast 
A nobler lineage. 

Shuisky. Indeed we may ! 

Vorotinsky. Let us remember, Shuisky, Vorotinsky 
Are, let me say, born princes. 

Boris Godunov 5 

Shuisky. Yea, born princes, 

And of the blood of Kurik. 

Vorotinsky. Listen, prince ; 

Then we, 'twould seem, should have the right to mount 
Feodor's throne. 

Shuisky. Rather than Godunov. 

Vorotinsky. In very truth 'twould seem so. 

Shuisky. And what then ? 

If still Boris pursue his crafty ways, 
Let us contrive by skilful means to rouse 
The people. Let them turn from Godunov ; 
Princes they have in plenty of their own ; 
Let them from out their number choose a tsar. 

Vorotinsky. Of us, Varyags in blood, there are full many, 
But 'tis no easy thing for us to vie 
With Godunov ; the people are not wont 
To recognise in us an ancient branch 
Of their old warlike masters ; long already 
Have we our apapnages forfeited, 
Long served but as lieutenants of the tsars, 
And he hath known, by fear, and love, and glory, 
How to bewitch the people. 

6 Boris Godunov 

Shuisky. {Looking through a window.) He lias dared, 
That's all — while we — Enough of this. Thou seest 
Dispersedly the people are returning. 
We'll go forthwith and learn what is resolved. 

Boris Gocktnov 



1st Person. He is inexorable ! He thrust from him 
Prelates, boyars, and Patriarch ; in vain 
Prostrate they fall ; the splendour of the throne 
Affrights him. 

2nd Person. 0, my God, who is to rule us ? 
0, woe to us ! 

3rd Person. See ! the Chief Minister 

Is coming out to tell us what the Council 
Has now resolved. 

The People. Silence ! Silence ! He speaks, 

The Minister of State. Hush, hush ! Give ear ! 

Shchelkalov. (From the Red Balcony.) 

The Council have resolved for the last time 
To put to proof the power of supplication 
Upon our ruler's mournful soul. At dawn, 
After a solemn service in the Kremlin, 
The blessed Patriarch will go, preceded 

Boris Godunov 

By sacred banners, with the holy ikons 
Of Donsky and Vladimir ; with him go 
The Council, courtiers, delegates, boyars, 
And all the orthodox folk of Moscow ; all 
Will go to pray once more the queen to pity 
Fatherless Moscow, and to consecrate 
Boris unto the crown. Now to your homes 
Go ye in peace : pray ; and to Heaven shall rise 
The heart's petition of the orthodox. 

(The People disperse.) 

Boris Godunov 



1st Person. To plead with the tsaritsa in her cell 
Now are they gone. Thither have gone Boris, 
The Patriarch, and a host of boyars. 

2nd Person. What news ? 

3rd Person. Still is he obdurate ; yet there is hope. 

Peasant Woman. (With a child.) 

Drat you ! stop crying, or else the bogie-man 

Will carry you off. Drat you, drat you ! stop crying ! 

1st Person. Can't we slip through behind the fence % 

2nd Person. Impossible ! 

No chance at all ! Not only is the nunnery 
Crowded ; the precincts too are crammed with people. 
Look what a sight ! All Moscow has thronged here. 
See ! fences, roofs, and every single storey 
Of the Cathedral bell tower, the church-domes, 
The very crosses are studded thick with people. 

io Boris Godunov 

1st Person. A goodly sight indeed ! 

2nd Person. What is that noise ? 

3rd Person. Listen ! What noise is that ? — The people 
groaned ; 
See there ! They fall like waves, row upon row — 
Again — again — Now, brother, 'tis our turn ; 
Be quick, down on your knees ! 

The People. (On their knees, groaning and wailing.) 

Have pity on us, 
Our father ! 0, rule over us ! 0, be 
Father to us, and tsar ! 

1st Person. (Sotto voce.) Why are they wailing ? 

2nd Person. How can we know ? The boyars know well 
It's not our business. 

Peasant Woman. (With child.) 

Now, what's this % Just when 
It ought to cry, the child stops crying. I'll show you ! 
Here comes the bogie-man ! Cry, cry, you spoilt one ! 

(Throws it on the ground ; the child screams.) 
That's right, that's right ! 

Boris Godunov n 

1st Person. As everyone is crying, 

We also, brother, will begin to cry. 

2nd Person. Brother, I try my best, but can't. 

1st Person. Nor I. 

Have you not got an onion ? 

2nd Person. No ; I'll wet 

My eyes with spittle. What's up there now ? 

1st Person. Who knows 

What's going on ? 

The People. The crown for him ! He is tsar ! 

He has yielded ! — Boris ! — our tsar ! — Long live Boris ! 

12 Boris Godunov 



Boris. Thou, father Patriarch, all ye boyars ! 
My soul lies bare before you ; ye have seen 
With what humility and fear I took 
This mighty power upon me. Ah ! how heavy 
My weight of obligation ! I succeed 
The great Ivans ; succeed the angel tsar ! — 
Righteous Father, King of kings, look down 
From Heaven upon the tears of Thy true servants, 
And send on him whom Thou hast loved, whom Thou 
Exalted hast on earth so wondrously, 
Thy holy blessing. May I rule my people 
In glory, and like Thee be good and righteous ! 
To you, boyars, I look for help. Serve me 
As ye served him, what time I shared your labours, 
Ere I was chosen by the people's will. 

BoyArs. We will not from our plighted oath depart. 

Boris. Now let us go to kneel before the tombs 
Of Russia's great departed rulers. Then 
Bid summon all our people to a feast, 

Boris Godunov 13 

All, from the noble to the poor blind beggar. 
To all free entrance, all most welcome guests. 

(Exit, the Boy Irs following.) 

Prince Vorotinsky. (Stopping ShuisJcy.) 
You rightly guessed. 

Shuisky. Guessed what ? 

Vorotinsky. Why, you remember — 

The other day, here on this very spot. 

Shuisky. No, I remember nothing. 

Vorotinsky. When the people 
Flocked to the Virgin's Field, thou said'st 

Shuisky. 'Tis not 

The time for recollection. There are times 
When I should counsel you not to remember, 
But even to forget. And for the rest, 
I sought but by feigned calumny to prove thee, 
The truelier to discern thy secret thoughts. 
But see ! the people hail the tsar — my absence 
May be remarked. I'll join them. 

Vorotinsky. Wily courtier ! 

14 Boris Godunov 


Cell in the Monastery of Chudov (a.d. 1603) 


Pimen {Writing in front of a sacred lamp.) 
One more, the final record, and my annals 
Are ended, and fulfilled the duty laid 
By God on me a sinner. Not in vain 
Hath God appointed me for many years 
A witness, teaching me the art of letters ; 
A day will come when some laborious monk 
Will bring to light my zealous, nameless toil, 
Kindle, as I, his lamp, and from the parchment 
Shaking the dust of ages will transcribe 
My true narrations, that posterity 
The bygone fortunes of the orthodox 
Of their own land may learn, will mention make 
Of their great tsars, their labours, glory, goodness— 
And humbly for their sins, their evil deeds, 
Implore the Saviour's mercy. — In old age 
I live anew ; the past unrolls before me. — 
Did it in years long vanished sweep along, 
Full of events, and troubled like the deep ? 

Boris Godunov 15 

Now it is hushed and tranquil. Few the faces 
Which memory hath saved for me, and few 
The words which have come down to me ; — the rest 
Have perished, never to return. — But day 
Draws near, the lamp burns low, one record more, 
The last. (He writes.) 
Gregory. (Waking.) Ever the selfsame dream ! Is 't 
possible ? 
For the third time ! Accursed dream ! And ever 
Before the lamp sits the old man and writes — 
And not all night, 'twould seem, from drowsiness, 
Hath closed his eyes. I love the peaceful sight, 
When, with his soul deep in the past immersed, 
He keeps his chronicle. Oft have I longed 
To guess what 'tis he writes of. Is 't perchance 
The dark dominion of the Tartars ? Is it 
Ivan's grim punishments, the stormy Council 
Of Novgorod ? Is it about the glory 
Of our dear fatherland ? — I ask in vain ! 
Not on his lofty brow, nor in his looks 
May one peruse his secret thoughts ; always 
The same aspect ; lowly at once, and lofty — 
Like some state Minister grown grey in office, 
Calmly alike he contemplates the just 
And guilty, with indifference he hears 
Evil and good, and knows not wrath nor pity. 

1 6 Boris Godunov 

Pimen. Wakest thou, brother ? 

Gregory. Honoured father, give me 

Thy blessing. 

Pimen. May God bless thee on this day, 

To-morrow, and for ever. 

Gregory. All night long 

Thou hast been writing and abstained from sleep, 
While demon visions have disturbed my peace, 
The fiend molested me. I dreamed I scaled 
By winding stairs a turret, from whose height 
Moscow appeared an anthill, where the people 
Seethed in the squares below and pointed at me 
With laughter. Shame and terror came upon me — 
And falling headlong, I awoke. Three times 
I dreamed the selfsame dream. Is it not strange ? 

Pimen. 'Tis the young blood at play ; humble thyself 
By prayer and fasting, and thy slumber's visions 
Will all be filled with lightness. Hitherto 
If I, unwillingly by drowsiness 
Weakened, make not at night long orisons, 
My old-man's sleep is neither calm nor sinless 
Now riotous feasts appear, now camps of war, 
Scuffles of battle, fatuous diversions 
Of youthful years. 

Boris Godunov 17 

Gregory. How joyfully didst thou 

Live out thy youth ! The fortress of Kazan 
Thou f ought'st beneath, with Shuisky didst repulse 
The army of Litva. Thou hast seen the court, 
And splendour of Ivan. Ah ! happy thou ! 
Whilst I, from boyhood up, a wretched monk, 
Wander from cell to cell ! Why unto me 
Was it not given to play the game of war, 
To revel at the table of a tsar ? 
Then, like to thee, would I in my old age 
Have gladly from the noisy world withdrawn, 
To vow myself a dedicated monk, 
And in the quiet cloister end my days. 

Pimen. Complain not, brother, that the sinful world 
Thou early didst forsake, that few temptations 
The All-Highest sent to thee. Believe my words ; 
The glory of the world, its luxury, 
Woman's seductive love, seen from afar, 
Enslave our souls. Long have I lived, have taken 
Delight in many things, but never knew 
True bliss until that season when the Lord 
Guided me to the cloister. Think, my son, 
On the great tsars ; who loftier than they ? 
God only. Who dares thwart them ? None. What 


1 8 Boris Godunov 

Often the golden crown became to them 

A burden ; for a cowl they bartered it. 

The tsar Ivan sought in monastic toil 

Tranquillity ; his palace, filled erewhile 

With haughty minions, grew to all appearance 

A monastery ; the very rakehells seemed 

Obedient monks, the terrible tsar appeared 

A pious abbot. Here, in this very cell 

(At that time Cyril, the much suffering, 

A righteous man, dwelt in it ; even me 

God then made comprehend the nothingness 

Of worldly vanities), here I beheld, 

Weary of angry thoughts and executions, 

The tsar ; among us, meditative, quiet 

Here sat the Terrible ; we motionless 

Stood in his presence, while he talked with us 

In tranquil tones. Thus spake he to the abbot 

And all the brothers : " My fathers, soon will come 

The longed-for day ; here shall I stand before you, 

Hungering for salvation ; Nicodemus, 

Thou Sergius, Cyril thou, will all accept 

My spiritual vow ; to you I soon shall come 

Accurst in sin, here the clean habit take, 

Prostrate, most holy father, at thy feet." 

So spake the sovereign lord, and from his lips 

Boris Godunov 19 

Sweetly the accents flowed. He wept ; and we 

With tears prayed God to send His love and peace 

Upon his suffering and stormy soul. — 

What of his son Feodor ? On the throne 

He sighed to lead the life of calm devotion. 

The royal chambers to a cell of prayer 

He turned, wherein the heavy cares of state 

Vexed not his holy soul. God grew to love 

The tsar's humility ; in his good days 

Kussia was blest with glory undisturbed, 

And in the hour of his decease was wrought 

A miracle unheard of ; at his bedside, 

Seen by the tsar alone, appeared a being 

Exceeding bright, with whom Feodor 'gan 

To commune, calling him great Patriarch ; 

And all around him were possessed with fear, 

Musing upon the vision sent from Heaven, 

Since at that time the Patriarch was not present 

In church before the tsar. And when he died 

The palace was with holy fragrance filled, 

And like the sun his countenance outshone. 

Never again shall we see such a tsar. — 

0, horrible, appalling woe ! We have sinned, 

We have angered God ; we have chosen for our ruler 

A tsar's assassin. 

20 Boris Godunov 

Gregory. Honoured father, long 

Have I desired to ask thee of the death 
Of young Dimitry, the tsarevich ; thou, 
J Tis said, wast then at Uglich. 

Pimen. Ay, my son, 

I well remember. God it was who led me 
To witness that ill deed, that bloody sin. 
I at that time was sent to distant Uglich 
Upon some mission. I arrived at night. 
Next morning, at the hour of holy mass, 
I heard upon a sudden a bell toll ; 
'Twas the alarm bell. Then a cry, an uproar ; 
Men rushing to the court of the tsaritsa. 
Thither I haste, and there had flocked already 
All Uglich. There I see the young tsarevich 
Lie slaughtered : the queen mother in a swoon 
Bowed over him, his nurse in her despair 
Wailing ; and then the maddened people drag 
The godless, treacherous nurse away. Appears 
Suddenly in their midst, wild, pale with rage, 
Judas Bityagovsky. " There, there's the villain ! " 
Shout on all sides the crowd, and in a trice 
He was no more. Straightway the people rushed 
On the three fleeing murderers ; they seized 
The hiding miscreants and led them up 
To the child's corpse yet warm ; when lo ! a marvel- 

Boris Godunov 21 

The dead child all at once began to tremble ! 
" Confess ! " the people thundered ; and in terror 
Beneath the axe the villains did confess— 
And named Boris. 

Gregory. How many summers lived 

The murdered boy ? 

Pimen. Seven summers ; he would now 

(Since then have passed ten years — nay, more — twelve 

He would have been of equal age to thee, 
And would have reigned ; but God deemed otherwise. 
This is the lamentable tale wherewith 
My chronicle doth end ; since then I little 
Have dipped in worldly business. Brother Gregory, 
Thou hast illumed thy mind by earnest study ; 
To thee I hand my task. In hours exempt 
From the soul's exercise, do thou record, 
Not subtly reasoning, all things whereto 
Thou shalt in life be witness ; war and peace, 
The sway of kings, the holy miracles 
Of saints, all prophecies and heavenly signs ; — 
For me 'tis time to rest and quench my lamp. — 
But hark ! the matin bell. Bless, Lord, Thy servants ! 
Give me my crutch. 


22 Boris Godunov 

Gregory. Boris, Boris, before tliee 

All tremble ; none dares even to remind thee 
Of what befell the hapless child ; meanwhile 
Here in dark cell a hermit doth indite 
Thy stern denunciation. Thou wilt not 
Escape the judgment even of this world, 
As thou wilt not escape the doom of God. 

Boris Godimov 23 


GREGORY and a Wicked Monk 

Gregory. 0, what a weariness is our poor life, 
What misery ! Day comes, day goes, and ever 
Is seen, is heard one thing alone ; one sees 
Only black cassocks, only hears the bell. 
Yawning by day you wander, wander, nothing 
To do ; you doze ; the whole night long till daylight 
The poor monk lies awake ; and when in sleep 
You lose yourself, black dreams disturb the soul ; 
Glad that they sound the bell, that with a crutch 
They rouse you. No, I will not suffer it ! 
I cannot ! Through this fence I'll flee ! The world 
Is great ; my path is on the highways ; never 
Thou'lt hear of me again. 

Monk. Truly your life 

Is but a sorry one, ye dissolute, 
Wicked young monks ! 

* This scene was omitted by Pushkin from the published version of 
the play. 

24 Boris Godunov 

Gregory. Would that the Khan again 

Would come upon us, or Lithuania rise 
Once more in insurrection. Good ! I would then 
Cross swords with them ! Or what if the tsarevich 
Should suddenly arise from out the grave, 
Should cry, " Where are ye, children, faithful servants ? 
Help me against Boris, against my murderer ! 
Seize my foe, lead him to me ! " 

Monk. Enough, my friend, 

Of empty babble. We cannot raise the dead. 
No, clearly it was fated otherwise 
For the tsarevich — But hearken ; if you wish 
To do a thing, then do it. 

Gregory. What to do ? 

Monk. If I were young as thou, if these grey hairs 

Had not already streaked my beard — Dost take me ? 

Gregory. Not I. 

Monk. Hearken ; our folk are dull of brain, 

Easy of faith, and glad to be amazed 
By miracles and novelties. The boyars 
Kemember Godunov as erst he was, 

Boris Godunov 25 

Peer to themselves ; and even now the race 
Of the old Varyags is loved by all. Thy years 
Match those of the tsarevich. If thou hast 
Cunning and hardihood — Dost take me now ? 

Gregory. I take thee. 

Monk. Well, what say'st thou ? 

Gregory. 'Tis resolved J 

I am Dimitry, I tsarevich ! 

Monk. Give me 

Thy hand, my bold young friend. Thou shalt be tsar ! 

26 Boris Godunov 

PATRIARCH, ABBOT of the Ghudov Monastery 

Patriarch. And lie has run away, Father Abbot ? 

Abbot. He has run away, holy sovereign, now three days ago. 

Patriarch. Accursed rascal ! What is his origin ? 

Abbot. Of the family of the Otrepievs, of the lower nobility 
of Galicia ; in his youth he took the tonsure, no one 
knows where, lived at Suzdal, in the Ephimievsky 
monastery, departed from there, wandered to various 
convents, finally arrived at my Chudov fraternity ; 
but I, seeing that he was still young and inexperienced, 
entrusted him at the outset to Father Pimen,.an old man, 
kind and humble. And he was very learned, read our 
chronicle, composed canons for the holy brethren ; but, 
to be sure, instruction was not given to him from the 
Lord God 

Patriarch. Ah, those learned fellows! What a thing to 
say, "I shall be tsar in Moscow." Ah, he is a vessel of 

Boris Godunov 27 

the devil ! However, it is no use even to report to the 
tsar about this ; why disquiet our father sovereign 1 
It will be enough to give information about his flight to 
the Secretary Smirnov or the Secretary Ephimiev. 
What a heresy : "I shall be tsar in Moscow ! " . . . 
Catch, catch the fawning villain, and send him to 
Solovetsky to perpetual penance. But this — is it not 
heresy, Father Abbot ? 

Abbot. Heresy, holy Patriarch ; downright heresy. 

28 Boris Godunov 

Two Attendants 

1st Attendant. Where is the sovereign ? 

2nd Attendant. In his bed-chamber, 

Where he is closeted with some magician. 

1st Attendant. Ay ; that's the kind of intercourse he 
loves ; 
Sorcerers, fortune-tellers, necromancers. 
Ever he seeks to dip into the future, 
Just like some pretty girl. Fain would I know 
What 'tis he would foretell. 

2nd Attendant. Well, here he comes. 

Will it please you question him 1 

1st Attendant. How grim he looks ! 


Tsar. (Enters.) I have attained the highest power. Six 
Already have I reigned in peace ; but joy 

Boris Godunov 

Dwells not within my soul. Even so in youth 
We greedily desire the joys of love, 
But only quell the hunger of the heart 
With momentary possession. We grow cold, 
Grow weary and oppressed ! In vain the wizards 
Promise me length of days, days of dominion 
Immune from treachery — not power, not life 
Gladden me ; I forebode the wrath of Heaven 
And woe. For me no happiness. I thought 
To satisfy my people in contentment, 
In glory, gain their love by generous gifts, 
But I have put away that empty hope ; 
The power that lives is hateful to the mob, — 
Only the dead they love. We are but fools 
When our heart vibrates to the people's groans 
And passionate wailing. Lately on our land 
God sent a famine ; perishing in torments 
The people soon forgot. The granaries 
, I made them free of, scattered gold among them, 
Found labour for them ; furious for my pains 
They cursed me ! Next, a fire consumed their homes ; 
I built for them new dwellings ; then forsooth 
They blamed me for the fire ! Such is the mob, 
Such is its judgment ! Seek its love, indeed ! 
I thought within my family to find 
Solace ; I thought to make my daughter happy 


30 Boris Godunov 

By wedlock. Like a tempest Death took off 

Her bridegroom — and at once a stealthy rumour 

Pronounced me guilty of my daughter's grief — 

Me, me, the hapless father ! Whoso dies, 

I am the secret murderer of all ; 

I hastened Peodor's end, 'twas I that poisoned 

My sister-queen, the lowly nun — all I ! 

Ah ! now I feel it ; naught can give us peace 

Mid worldly cares, nothing save only conscience ! 

Healthy she triumphs over wickedness, 

Over dark slander ; but if in her be found 

A single casual stain, then misery. 

With what a deadly sore my soul doth smart ; 

My heart, with venom filled, doth like a hammer 

Beat in mine ears reproach ; all things revolt me, 

And my head whirls, and in my eyes are children 

Dripping with blood ; and gladly would I flee, 

But nowhere can find refuge — horrible ! 

Pitiful he whose conscience is unclean ! 

Boris Godun6v 31 


MISSAIL and VARLAAM, wandering friars ; 
GREGORY in secular attire; HOSTESS 

Hostess. With what shall I regale you, my reverend 
honoured guests ? 

Varlaam. With what God sends, little hostess. Have you 
no wine ? 

Hostess. As if I had not, my fathers ! I will bring it at 
once. (Exit.) 

Missail. Why so glum, comrade ? Here is that very 
Lithuanian frontier which you so wished to reach. 

Gregory. Until I shall be in Lithuania, till then I shall not 
be content. 

Varlaam. What is it that makes you so fond of Lithuania ? 
Here are we, Father Missail and I, a sinner, when we fled 
from the monastery, then we cared for nothing. Was it 

32 Boris Godunov 

Lithuania, was it Kussia, was it fiddle, was it dulcimer ? 
All the same for us, if only there was wine. That's the 
main thing ! 

Missail. Well said, Father Varlaam. 

Hostess. (Enters.) 

There you are, my fathers. Drink to your health. 

Missail. Thanks, my good friend. God bless thee. (The 
monks drink. Varlaam trolls a ditty : " Thou passest 
by, my dear," ete.) (To Gregory) Why don't you join 
in the song ? Not even join in the song ? 

Gregory. I don't wish to. 
Missail. Everyone to his liking 

Varlaam. But a tipsy man's in Heaven. * Father Missail ! 
we will drink a glass to our hostess. (Sings : " Where 
the brave lad in durance/ 7 etc.) Still, Father Missail, 
when I am drinking, then I don't like sober men ; tipsi- 
ness is one thing — but pride quite another. If you want 
to live as we do, you are welcome. No ? — then take 
yourself off, away with you ; a mountebank is no com- 
panion for a priest. 

* The Russian text has here a play on the words which cannot be 
satisfactorily rendered into English. 

Boris Godiinov 33 

Gregory. Drink, and keep your thoughts to yourself, * 
Father Varlaam ! You see, I too sometimes know how 
to make puns. 

Varlaam. But why should I keep my thoughts to myself ? 

Missail. Let him alone, Father Varlaam. 

Varlaam. But what sort of a fasting man is he ? Of his 
own accord he attached himself as a companion to us ; 
no one knows who he is, no one knows whence he comes — 
and yet he gives himself grand airs ; perhaps he has a 
close acquaintance with the pillory. (Drinks and sings : 
" A young monk took the tonsure" etc.) 

Gregory. (To Hostess.) Whither leads this road ? 

Hostess. To Lithuania, my dear, to the Luyov mountains. 

Gregory. And is it far to the Luyov mountains ? 

Hostess. Not far ; you might get there by evening, but for 
the tsar's frontier barriers, and the captains of the 

Gregory. What say you ? Barriers ! What means this ? 

* The Russian text has here a play on the words which cannot be 
satisfactorily rendered into English. 


34 Boris Godunov 

Hostess. Someone has escaped from Moscow* and orders 
have been given to detain and search everyone. 

Gregory. (Aside.) Here's a pretty mess ! 

Varlaam. Hallo, comrade ! You've been making up to 
mine hostess. To be sure you don't want vodka, but 
you want a young woman. All right, brother, all right ! 
Everyone has his own ways, and Father Missail and I 
have only one thing which we care for — we drink to the 
bottom, we drink; turn it upside down, and knock at 
the bottom. 

Missail. Well said, Father Varlaam. 

Gregory. (To Hostess.) Whom do they want ? Who 
escaped from Moscow ? 

Hostess. God knows ; a thief perhaps, a robber. But here 
even good folk are worried now. And what will come of 
it ? Nothing. They will not catch the old devil ; as if 
there were no other road into Lithuania than the high- 
way ! Just turn to the left from here, then by the pine- 
wood or by the footpath as far as the chapel on the 
Chekansky brook, and then straight across the marsh to 
Khlopin, and thence to Zakhariev, and then any child 

Boris Godunov 35 

will guide you to the Luyov mountains. The only good 
of these inspectors is to worry passers-by and rob us poor 
folk. (A noise is heard.) What's that ? Ah, there 
they are, curse them ! They are going their rounds. 

Gregory. Hostess ! is there another room in the cottage ? 

Hostess. No, my dear ; I should be glad myself to hide. 
But they are only pretending to go their rounds ; but 
give them wine and bread, and Heaven knows what — 

May perdition take them, the accursed ones ! May 

(Enter Officers.) 

Officers. Good health to you, mine hostess ! 
Hostess. You are kindly welcome, dear guests. 

An Officer. (To- another.) Ha, there's drinking going on 
here ; we shall get something here. (To the Monks.) 
Who are you ? 

Varlaam. We — are two old clerics, humble monks ; we are 
going from village to village, and collecting Christian 
alms for the monastery. 

Officer. (To Gregory.) And thou ? 

Missail. Our comrade. 

36 Boris Godunov 

Gregory. A layman from the suburb ; I have conducted the 
old men as far as the frontier ; from here I am going to 
my own home. 

Missail. So you have changed your mind ? 

Gregory. (Sotto voce.) Be silent. 

Officer. Hostess, bring some more wine, and we will 
drink here a little and talk a little with these old men. 

2nd Officer. (Sotto voce.) Yon lad, it appears, is poor ; 
there's nothing to be got out of him ; on the other hand 
the old men— — 

1st Officer. Be silent ; we shall come to them presently. 
— Well, my fathers, how are you getting on ? 

Varlaam. Badly, my sons, badly ! The Christians have 
now turned stingy ; they love their money ; they hide 
their money. They give little to God. The people of 
the world have become great sinners. They have all 
devoted themselves to commerce, to earthly cares ; they 
think of worldly wealth, not of the salvation of the soul. 
You walk and walk ; you beg and beg ; sometimes in 
three days begging will not bring you three half-pence. 
What a sin ! A w T eek goes by ; another week ; you look 

Boris Godunov 37 

into your bag, and there is so little in it that you are 
ashamed to show yourself at the monastery. What axe 
you to do ? From very sorrow you drink away what is 
left ; a real calamity ! Ah, it is bad ! It seems our last 
days have come 

Hostess. (Weeps.) God pardon and save you ! 

(During the course of Varlaam's speech the Is: 
Officer watches Mtssail significantly.) 

1st Officer. Alexis ! have you the tsar's edict with you ? 

2nd Officer. I have it. 

] st Officer. Give it here. 

Miss ail. Why do you look at me so fixedly ? 

1st Officer. This is why ; from Moscow there has fled a 
certain wicked heretic — Grishka Otrepiev. Have you 
heard this ? 

Missail. I have not heard it. 

Officer. Not heard it ? Very good. And the tsar has 
ordered to arrest and hang the fugitive heretic. Do you 
know this ? 

38 Boris Godunov 

Missail. I do not know it. 

Officer. (To Varlaam.) Do you know how to read ? 

Varlaam. In my youth I knew how, but I have forgotten. 

Officer. (To Missail.) And thou ? 

Missail. God has not made me wise. 

Officer. So then here's the tsar's edict. 

Missatl. What do I want it for ? 

Officer. It seems to me that this fugitive heretic, thief, 
swindler, is — thou. 

Missail. I ? Good gracious ! What are you talking about ? 

Officer. Stay ! Hold the doors. Then we shall soon get 
at the truth. 

Hostess. the cursed tormentors ! Not to leave even the 
old man in peace ! 

Officer. Which of you here is a scholar ? 
Gregory. (Comes forward.) I am a scholar ! 

Boris Godunov 39 

Officer. Oh, indeed ! And from whom did you learn ? 

Gregory. From our sacristan. 

Officer (Gives him the edict.) Read it aloud. 

Gregory. (Reads.) " An unworthy monk of the Monastery 
of Chudov, Gregory, of the family of Otrepiev, has fallen 
into heresy, taught by the devil, and has dared to vex 
the holy brotherhood by all kinds of iniquities and acts 
of lawlessness. And, according to information, it has 
been shown that he, the accursed Grishka, has fled to the 
Lithuanian frontier." 

Officer. (To Missail.) How can it be anyone but you ? 

Gregory. " And the tsar has commanded to arrest him " 

Officer. And to hang ! 

Gregory. It does not say here " to hang." 

Officer. Thou liest. What is meant is not always put into 
writing. Read : to arrest and to hang. 

Gregory. " And to hang. And the age of the thief 
Grishka " (looking at Varlaam) " about fifty, and his 
height medium ; he has a bald head, grey beard, fat 

(All glance at Varlaam.) 

40 Boris Godunov 

1st Officer. My lads ! Here is Grishka ! Hold liim ! 
bind him ! I never thought to catch him so quickly. 

Varlaam. (Snatching the paper.) Hands off, my lads ! 
"What sort of a Grishka am I ? What ! fifty years old, 
grey beard, fat belly ! No, brother. You're. too young 
to play off tricks on me. I have not read for a long time 
and I make it out badly, but I shall manage to make it 
out, as it's a hanging matter. (Spells it out.) " And his 
age twenty." Why, brother, where does it say fifty ?— 
Do you see — twenty ? 

2nd Officer. Yes, I remember, twenty; even so it was 
told us. 

1st Officer. (To Gregory.) Then, evidently, you like a 
joke, brother. 

(During the reading Gregory stands with downcast 
head, and his hand in his breast.) 

Varlaam. (Continues.) " And in stature he is small, chest 
• broad, one arm shorter than the other, blue eyes, red 
hair, a wart on his cheek, another on his forehead." 
Then is it not you, my friend ? 

(Gregory suddenly draws a dagger; all give way 
before him ; he dashes through the ivindow.) 

Officers. Hold him ! Hold him ! 

(All run out in disorder.) 

Boris Godunov 41 


SHUISKY. A number of Guests. Supper 

Shuisky. More wine ! Now, my dear guests. 

(He rises ; all rise after him.) 
The final draught ! 
Eead the prayer, boy. 

Boy. Lord of the heavens, Who art 

Eternally and everywhere, accept 
The prayer of us Thy servants. For our monarch, 
By Thee appointed, for our pious tsar, 
Of all good Christians autocrat, we pray. 
Preserve him in the palace, on the field 
Of battle, on his nightly couch ; grant to him 
Victory o'er his foes ; from sea to sea 
May he be glorified ; may all his house 
Blossom with health, and may its precious branches 
O'ershadow all the earth ; to us, his slaves, 
May he, as heretofore, be generous. 
Gracious, long-suffering, and may the founts 
Of his unfailing wisdom flow upon us ; 
Eaising the royal cup, Lord of the heavens, 
For this we pray. 

42 Boris Godunov 

Shuisky. (Drinks.) Long live our mighty sovereign ! 

Farewell, dear guests. I thank you that ye scorned not 
My bread and salt. Farewell ; good-night. 

(Exeunt Guests : he conducts them to the door.) 

PtJSHKiN. Hardly could they tear themselves away ; indeed, 
Prince Vassily Ivanovitch, I began to think that we 
should not succeed in getting any private talk. 

Shuisky. (To the Servants.) You there, why do you stand 
gaping ? Always eavesdropping on gentlemen ! Clear 
the table, and then be off. 

(Exeunt Servants.) 
What is it, Athanasius 
Mikailovitch ? 

Ptjshkin. Such a wondrous thing ! 

A message was sent here to me to-day 
From Cr&cow by my nephew Gabriel Pushkin. 

Shuisky. Well? 

PtJSHKiN. 'Tis strange news my nephew writes. The son 

Of the Terrible — But stay 

(Goes to the door and examines it.) 
The royal boy, 
Who murdered was by order of Boris 

Boris Godunov 43 

Shuisky. But these are no new tidings. 

Pushkin. Wait a little ; 

Dimitry lives. 

Shuisky. So that's it ! News indeed ! 

Dimitry living ! — really marvellous ! 
And is that all ? 

Pushkin. Pray listen to the end ; 

Whoe'er he be, whether he be Dimitry 
Kescued, or else some spirit in his shape, 
Some daring rogue, some insolent pretender, 
In any case Dimitry has appeared. 

Shuisky. It cannot be. 

Pijshkin. Pushkin himself beheld him 

When first he reached the court, and through the ranks 
Of Lithuanian gentlemen went straight 
Into the secret chamber of the king. 

Shuisky. What kind of man ? Whence comes he ? 

PtJSHKiN. No one knows. 

"lis known that he was Vishnevsky's servant ; 
That to a ghostly father on a bed 
Of sickness he disclosed himself ; possessed 
Of this strange secret, his proud master nursed him, 
From his sick bed upraised him, and straightway 
Took him to Sigismund. 

44 Boris Godunov 

Shuisky. And what say men 

Of this bold fellow ? 

Pushkin. 'Tis said that he is wise, 

Affable, cunning, popular with all men. 
He has bewitched the fugitives from Moscow, 
The Catholic priests see eye to eye with him. 
The King caresses him, and, it is said, 
Has promised help. 

Shuisky. All this is such a medley 

That my head whirls. Brother, beyond all doubt 
This man is a pretender, but the danger 
Is, I confess, not slight. This is grave news ! 
And if it reach the people, then there'll be 
A mighty tempest. 

Pijshkin. Such a storm that hardly 

Will Tsar Boris contrive to keep the crown 
Upon his clever head ; and losing it 
Will get but his deserts ! He governs us 
As did the tsar Ivan of evil memory. 
What profits it that public executions 
Have ceased, that w r e no longer sing in public 
Hymns to Christ Jesus on the field of blood ; 
That w r e no more are burnt in public places, 
Or that the tsar no longer with his sceptre 

Boris Godunov 45 

Rakes in the ashes ? Is there any safety 

In our poor life ? Each day disgrace awaits us ; 

The dungeon or Siberia, cowl or fetters, 

And then in some deaf nook a starving death, 

Or else the halter. Where are the most renowned 

Of all our houses, where the Sitsky princes, 

"Where are the Shestunovs, where the Romanovs, 

Hope of our fatherland ? Imprisoned, tortured, 

In exile. Do but wait, and a like fate 

Will soon be thine. Think of it ! Here at home, 

Just as in Lithuania, we're beset 

By treacherous slaves — and tongues are ever ready 

For base betrayal, thieves bribed by the State. 

We hang upon the word of the first servant 

Whom we may please to punish. Then he bethought him 

To take f com us our privilege of hiring 

Our serfs at will ; we are no longer masters 

Of our own lands. Presume not to dismiss 

An idler. Willy nilly, thou must feed him ! 

Presume not to outbid a man in hiring 

A labourer, or you will find yourself 

In the Court's clutches. — Was such an evil heard of 

Even under tsar Ivan ? And are the people 

The better off ? Ask them. Let the pretender 

But promise them the old free right of transfer, 

Then there'll be sport. 

46 Boris Godunov 

Shuisky. Thou'rt right ; but be advised ; 

Of this, of all things, for a time we'll speak 
No word. 

Pushkin. Assuredly, keep thine own counsel. 
Thou art — a person of discretion ; always 
I am glad to commune with thee ; and if aught 
At any time disturbs me, I endure not 
To keep it from thee ; and, truth to tell, thy mead 
And velvet ale to-day have so untied 
My tongue . . . Farewell then, prince. 

Shuisky. Brother, farewell. 

Farewell, my brother, till we meet again. 

(He escorts Pushkin out.) 

Boris Godun6v 47 


The TSAREVICH is drawing a map. The 

TSAREVNA. The NURSE of the Tsarevna 

Ksenia. (Kisses a portrait.) My dear bridegroom, comely 
son of a king, not to me wast thou given, not to thy 
affianced bride, but to a dark sepulchre in a strange 
land ; never shall I take comfort, ever shall I weep for 

Nurse. Eh, tsarevna ! a maiden weeps as the dew falls ; 
the sun will rise, will dry the dew. Thou wilt have 
another bridegroom — -and handsome and affable. My 
charming child, thou wilt learn to love him, thou wilt 
forget Ivan the king's son. 

Ksenia. Nay, nurse, I will be true to him even in death. 

(Boris enters.) 

Tsar. What, Ksenia ? What, my sweet one ? In thy 
Already a woe-stricken widow, ever 
Bewailing thy dead bridegroom ! Fate forbade me 

48 Boris Godqndv 

To be the author of thy bliss. Perchance 
I angered Heaven ; it was not mine to compass 
Thy happiness. Innocent one, for what 
Art thou a sufferer ? And thou, my son, 
With what art thou employed ? What's this % 

Feodqr. A chart 

4 Of all the land of Muscovy ; our tsardom 
From end to end. Here you see ; there is Moscow, 
There Novgorod, there Astrakhan. Here lies 
The sea, here the dense forest tract of Perm, 
And here Siberia. 

Tsar. And what is this 

Which makes a winding pattern here ? 

Feodor. That is 

The Volga. 

Tsar. Very good ! Here's the sweet fruit 

Of learning. One can view as from the clouds 
Our whole dominion at a glance ; its frontiers, 
Its towns, its rivers. Learn, my son ; 'tis science 
Which gives to us an abstract of the events 
Of our swift-flowing life. Some day, perchance 
Soon, all the lands which thou so cunningly 

Boris Godunov 49 

To-day hast drawn on paper ,^all will come 

Under thy hand. Learn, therefore ; and more smoothly, 

More clearly wilt thou take, my son, upon thee 

The cares of state. 

(Semy6n Godunov enters.) 
But there comes Godunov 
Bringing reports to me. (To Ksenia.) Go to thy 

Dearest ; farewell, my child ; God comfort thee. 

(Exeunt Ksenia and Nurse.) 
What news hast thou for me, Semyon Nikitich ? 

Semy6n G. To-day at dawn the servants of Prince Pushkin 
And Prince Vassily brought me information. 

Tsar. Well? 

Semy6n G. In the first place Pushkin's man deposed 
That yestermorn came to his house from Cracow 
A courier, who within an hour was sent 
Without a letter back. 

Tsar. Arrest the courier. 

Semy6n G. Some are already sent to overtake him. 

Tsar. And what of Shuisky ? 

50 Boris Gochmov 

Semyon G. Last night he entertained 

His friends ; the Biiturlins, both Miloslavskys, 
And Saltikov, with Pushkin and some others. 
They parted late. Pushkin alone remained 
Closeted with his host and talked with him 
A long time more. 

Tsar. For Shuisky send forthwith. 

Semyon 6. Sire, he is here already. 

Tsar. Call him hither. 

{Exit Semyon Godun6v.) 

Dealings with Lithuania ? What means this ? 
I like not the seditious race of Pushkins, 
Nor must I trust in Shuisky, obsequious, 

But bold and wily 

{Enter Shuisky.) 
Prince, I must speak with thee. 
But thou thyself, it seems, hast business with me, 
And I would listen first to thee. 

Shuisky. Yea, sire ; 

It is my duty to convey to thee 
Grave news. 

Tsar, I listen. 

Boris Godunov 51 

Shuisky. (Soilo voce, pointing to Feodor.) 
Bub, sire 

Tsar. The tsaievich 

May learn whate'er Prince Shuisky knoweth. Speak. 

Shuisky. My liege, from Lithuania there have come 
Tidings to us 

Tsar. Are they not those same tidings 

Which yestereve a courier bore to Pushkin ? 

Shuisky. Nothing is hidden from him !•— Sire, I thought 
Thou knew'st not yet this secret. 

Tsar. Let not that 

Trouble thee, prince ; I fain would scrutinise 
Thy information ; else we shall not learn 
The actual truth. 

Shuisky. I know this only, Sire ; 

In Cracow a pretender hath appeared ; 
The king and nobles back him. 

Tsar. What say they ? 

And who is this pretender ? 

Shuisky. I know not. 

. Tsar, But wherein is he dangerous ? 

52 Boris Godun6v 

Shuisky. Verily 

Thy state, my liege, is firm ; by graciousness, 

Zeal, bounty, thou hast won the filial love 

Of all thy slaves ; but thou thyself dost know 

The mob is thoughtless, changeable, rebellious, 

Credulous, lightly given to vain hope, 

Obedient to each momentary impulse, 

To truth deaf and indifferent ; it f eedeth 

On fables ; shameless boldness pleaseth it. 

So, if this unknown vagabond should cross 

The Lithuanian border, Dimitry's name 

Raised from the grave will gain him a whole crowd 

Of fools. 

Tsar. Dimitry's ?— What ?— That child's ?— Dimitry's ? 
Withdraw, tsarevich. 

Shuisky. He flushed ; there'll be a storm ! 

Fe6dor. Suffer me, Sire- — 

Tsar. Impossible, my son ; 

Go, go ! 

(Exit Fe6dor.) 
Dimitry's name ! 

Shuisjcy. Then he knew nothing. 

Boris Godunov 53 

Tsar. Listen : take steps this very hour that Russia 
Be fenced by barriers from Lithuania ; 
That not a single soul pass o'er the border, 
That not a hare run o'er to us from Poland, 
Nor crow fly here from Cracow. Away ! 

Shuisky. I go. 

Tsar. Stay ! — Is it not a fact that this report 
Is artfully concocted ? Hast ever heard 
That dead men have arisen from their graves 
To question tsars, legitimate tsars, appointed, 
Chosen by the voice of all the people, crowned 
By the great Patriarch ? Is't not laughable ? 
Eh ? What ? Why laugh'st thou not thereat ? 

Shuisky. I, Sire ? 

Tsar. Hark, Prince Vassily ; when first I learned this child 
Had been — this child had somehow lost its life, 
'Twas thou I sent to search the matter out. 
Now by the Cross and God I do adjure thee, 
Declare to me the truth upon thy conscience ; 
Didst recognise the slaughtered boy : was't not 
A substitute ? Eeply. 

Shuisky. I swear to thee 

54 Boris Godunov 

Tsar. Nay, Shuisky, swear not, but reply ; was it 
Indeed Dimitry ? 

Shuisky. He. 

Tsae. Consider, prince. 

I promise clemency ; I will not punish 
With vain disgrace a lie that's past. But if 
Thou now beguile me, then by my son's head 
I swear — an evil fate shall overtake thee, 
Eequital such that Tsar Ivan Vasilievich 
Shall shudder in his grave with horror of it. 

Shuisky. In punishment no terror lies ; the terror 
Doth lie in thy disfavour ; in thy presence 
Dare I use cunning ? Could I deceive myself 
So blindly as not recognise Dimitry ? 
Three days in the cathedral did I visit 


His corpse, escorted thither by all Uglich. 
Around him thirteen bodies lay of those 
Slain by the people, and on them corruption 
Already had set in perceptibly, 
But lo ! the childish face of the tsarevich 
Was bright and fresh and quiet as if asleep ; 
The deep gash had congealed not, nor the lines 
Of his face even altered. No, my liege, 
There is no doubt ; Dimitry sleeps in the grave. 

Boris Godunov 55 

Tsar. Enough, withdraw. 

(Exit Shuisky.) 
I choke ! — let me get my breath ! 
I felt it ; all my blood surged to my face, 
And heavily fell back. — So that is why 
For thirteen years together I have dreamed 
Ever about the murdered child. Yes, yes — 
'Tis that ! — now I perceive. But who is he, 
My terrible antagonist ? Who is it 
Opposeth me ? An empty name, a shadow. 
Can it be a shade shall tear from me the purple, 
A sound deprive my children of succession ? 
Fool that I was ! Of what was I afraid ? 
Blow on this phantom — and it is no more. 
So, I am fast resolved ; I'll show no sign 
Of fear, but nothing must be held in scorn. 
Ah ! heavy art thou, crown of Monomakh ! 

56 Boris Godunov 



Pretender. Nay, father, there will be no trouble. I know 
The spirit of my people ; piety 
Does not run wild in them, their tsar's example 
To them is sacred. Furthermore, the people 
Are always tolerant. I warrant you, 
Before two years my people all, and all 
The Eastern Church, will recognise the power 
Of Peter's Vicar. 

Priest. May Saint Ignatius aid thee 

When other times shall come. Meanwhile, tsarevich, 

Hide in thy soul the seed of heavenly blessing ; 

Religious duty bids us oft dissemble 

Before the blabbing world ; the people judge 

Thy words, thy deeds ; God only sees thy motives. 

Pretender. Amen. Who's there ? 

(Enter a Servant.) 
Say that we will receive them. 
(The doors me opened ; a erowd of Russians and Poles 

Boris Godunov 57 

Comrades ! To morrow we depart from Cracow. 

Mnishek, with thee for three days in Sambor 

I'll stay. I know thy hospitable castle 

Both shines in splendid stateliness, and glories 

In its young mistress. There I hope to see 

Charming Marina. And ye, my friends, ye, Russia 

And Lithuania, ye who have upraised 

Fraternal banners against a common foe, 

Against mine enemy, yon crafty villain, 

Ye sons of Slavs, speedily will I lead 

Your dread battalions to the longed-for conflict. 

But soft ! Methinks among you I descry 

New faces. 

Gabriel P. They have come to beg for sword 
And service with your Grace. 

Pretender. Welcome, my lads. 

You are friends to me. But tell me, Pushkin, who 
Is this fine fellow ? 

Pushkin. Prince Kurbsky. 

Pretender. (To Kurbsky.) A famous name ! 

Art kinsman to the hero of Kazan ? 

Kurbsky. His son. 

5$ Boris Godunov 

Pretender. Liveth he still ? 

Kurbsky. Nay, he is dead. 

Pretender. A noble soul ! A man of war and counsel. 
But from the time when he appeared beneath 
The ancient town Olgin with the Lithuanians, 
Hardy avenger of his injuries, 
Rumour hath held her tongue concerning him. 

Kurbsky. My father led the remnant of his life 
On lands bestowed upon him by Batory ; 
There, in Volhynia, solitary and quiet, 
Sought consolation for himself in studies ; 
But peaceful labour did not comfort him ; 
He ne'er forgot the home of his young days, 
And to the end pined for it. 

Pretender. Hapless chieftain ! 

How brightly shone the dawn of his resounding 
And stormy life ! Glad am I, noble knight, 
That now his blood is reconciled in thee 
To his fatherland. The faults of fathers must not 
Be called to mind. Peace to their grave. Approach ; 
Give me thy hand ! Is it not strange ? — the son 
Of Kurbsky to the throne is leading — whom ? e 
Whom but Ivan's own son ? — All favours me ; 
People and fate alike. — Say, who art thou ? 

Boris Godunov 59 

A Pole. Sobansky, a free noble. 

Pretender. Praise and honour 

Attend thee, child of liberty. Give him 
A third of his full pay beforehand. — Who 
Are these ? On them I recognise the dress 
Of my own country. These are ours. 

Krushchov. (Bows loiv.) Yea, Sire, 

Our father ; we are thralls of thine, devoted 
And persecuted ; we have fled from Moscow, 
Disgraced, to thee our tsar, and for thy sake 
Are ready to lay down our lives ; our corpses 
Khali be for thee steps to the royal throne. 

Pretender. Take heart, innocent sufferers. Only let me 
Eeach Moscow, and, once there, Boris shall settle 
Some scores with me and you. What news of Moscow % 

Krushchov. As yet all there is quiet. But already 
The folk have got to know that the tsarevich 
Was saved ; already everywhere is read 
Thy proclamation. All are waiting for thee. 
Not long ago Boris sent two boyars 
To execution merely because in secret 
They drank thy health. 

60 Boris Godunov 

Pretender. hapless, good boyars ! 

But blood for blood ! and woe to Godunov ! 
What do they say of him ? 

Krushchov. He has withdrawn 

Into his gloomy palace. He is grim 
And sombre. Executions loom ahead. 
But sickness gnaws him. Hardly hath he strength 
To drag himself along, and — it is thought — 
His last hour is already not far off. 

Pretender. A speedy death I wish him, as becomes 
A great-souled foe to wish. If not, then woe 
To the miscreant ! — And whom doth he intend 
To name as his successor ? 

Krushchov. He shows not 

His purposes, but it would seem he destines 
Feodor, his young son, to be our tsar. 

Pretender. His reckonings, maybe, will yet prove wrong. 

Who art thou ? 
Karela. A Cossack ; from the Don I am sent 

To thee, from the free troops, from the brave hetmen 

From upper and lower regions of the Cossacks, 

To look upon thy bright and royal eyes, 

And tender thee their homage. 

Boris Godun6v 61 

Pretender. Well I knew 

The men of Don ; I doubted not to see 
The Cossack hetmen in my ranks. We thank 
Our army of the Don. To-day, we know, 
The Cossacks are unjustly persecuted, 
Oppressed ; but if God grant us to ascend 
The throne of our forefathers, then as of yore 
We'll gratify the free and faithful Don. 

Poet. (Approaches, bowing loiv, and taking Gregory by (he 
hem of his caftan.) 
Great prince, illustrious offspring of a king ! 

Pretender. What wouldst thou ? 

Poet. Condescendingly accept 

This poor fruit of my earnest toil. 

Pretender. What see I ? 

Verses in Latin ! Blest a hundredfold 
The tie of sword and lyre ; the selfsame laurel 
Binds them in friendship. I was born beneath 
A northern sky, but yet the Latin muse 
To me is a familiar voice ; I love 
The blossoms of Parnassus, I believe 
The prophecies of singers. Not in vain 

62 Boris Godundv 

The ecstasy boils in their flaming breast ; 
Action is hallowed, being glorified 
Beforehand by the poets ! Approach, my friend. 
In memory of me accept this gift. 

{Gives him a ring.) 
When fate fulfils for me her covenant, 
When I assume the crown of my forefathers, 
I hope again to hear the measured tones 
Of thy sweet voice, and thy inspired lay. 
Musa gloriam coronal, gloriaque musam. 
And so, friends, till to-morrow, an revoir. 

All. Forward ! Long live Dimitry ! Forward, forward ! 
Long live Dimitry, the great prince of Moscow ! 

Boris Godun6v 63 



Dressing -Room of Marina 

MARINA, ROUZYA (dressing her), Serving-Women 

Marina, (Before a mirror.) Now then, is it ready ? Cannot 
you make haste ? 

Rouzya. I pray you first to make the difficult choice ; 
Will you the necklace wear of pearls, or else 
The emerald half -moon ? 

Marina. My diamond crown. 

Rouzya, Splendid ! Do you remember that you wore it 
When to the palace you were pleased to go ? 
They say that at the ball your gracious highness 
Shone like the sun ; men sighed, fair ladies whispered — 
'Twas then that for the first time young Khotkevkh 
Beheld you, he who after shot himself . 
And whosoever looked on you, they say, 
That instant fell in love. 

64 Boris Godunov 

Marina. Can't you be quicker ? 

Rouzya. At once. To-day your father counts upon you. 
'Twas not for naught the young tsarevich saw you ; 
He could not hide his rapture ; wounded he is 
Already ; so it only needs to deal him 
A resolute blow, and instantly, my lady, 
He'll be in love with you. 'Tis now a month 
Since, quitting Cracow, heedless of the war 
And throne of Moscow, he has feasted here, 
Your guest, enraging Poles alike and Russians. 
Heavens ! Shall I ever live to see the day ? — 
Say, you will not, when to his capital 
Dimitry leads the queen of Moscow, say 
You'll not forsake me ? 

Marina. Dost thou truly think 

I shall be queen ? 

Rouzya. Who, if not you ? Who here 

Dares to compare in beauty with my mistress ? 
The race of Mnishek never yet has yielded 
To any. In intellect you are beyond 
All praise. — Happy the suitor whom your glance 
Honours with its regard, who wins your heart — 
Whoe'er he be, be he our king, the dauphin 
Of France, or even this our poor tsarevich 
Grod knows who, God knows whence ! 

Boris Godunov 65 

Marina. The very son 

Of the tsar, and so confessed by the whole world. 

Rouzya. And yet last winter he was but a servant 
In the house of Vishnevetsky. 

Marjna. He was hiding. 

Rouzya. I do not question it : but still do you know 
What people say about him ? That perhaps 
He is a deacon run away from Moscow, 
In his own district a notorious rogue. x 

Marina, What nonsense ! 

Rouzya. 0, I do not credit it ! 

I only say he ought to bless his fate 
That you have so preferred him to the others. 

Waiting- Woman. (Runs in.) The guests have come already. 

Marina. There you see ; 

You're ready to chatter silliness till daybreak. 
Meanwhile I am not dressed 

Rouzya. Within a moment 

'Twill be quite ready. 

(The Waiting- women bustle.) 

Marina. (Aside.) I must find out all. 

66 Boris Godunov 



Mnishek. With, none but my Marina doth he speak, 
With no one else consorteth — and that business 
Looks dreadfully like marriage. Now confess, 
Didst ever think my daughter would be a queen ? 

Vishnevetsky. 'Tis wonderful. — And, Mnishek, didst thou 
My servant would ascend the throne of Moscow ? 

Mnishek. And what a girl, look you, is my Marina. 
I merely hinted to her : (i Now, be careful ! 
Let not Dimitry slip " — and lo ! already 
He is completely tangled in her toils. 

(The band plays a Polonaise. The Pretended and 
Marina advance as the first couple.) 

Marina. (Sotto voce to Dimitry.) To-morrow evening at 
eleven, beside 
The fountain in the avenue of lime-trees. 

(They walk off. A second couple.) 

Boris Godunov 67 

Cavalier. What can Dimitry see in her ? 

Dame. How say you ? 

She is a beauty. 

Cavalier. Yes, a marble nymph ; 

Eyes, lips, devoid of life, without a smile. 

(A fresh couple.) 

Dame. He is not handsome, but his eyes are pleasing, 
And one can see he is of royal birth. 

(Afresh couple.) 

Dame. When will the army march ? 

Cavalier. When the tsarevich 

Orders it ; we are ready ; but 'tis clear 
The lady Mnishek and Dimitry mean 
To keep us prisoners here. 

Dame. A pleasant durance. 

Cavalier. Truly, if you . . . 

(They walk off ; the rooms become empty.) 

Mnishek. We old ones dance no longer ; 

The sound of music lures us not ; we press not 
Nor kiss the hands of charmers — ah ! my friend, 
I've not forgotten the old pranks ! Things now 

68 Boris Godunov 

Are not what once they were, what once they were ! 

Youth, I'll be sworn, is not so bold, nor beauty 

So lively ; everything — confess, my friend — 

Has somehow become dull. So let us leave them : 

My comrade, let us go and find a flask 

Of old Hungarian overgrown with mould ; 

Let's bid my butler open an old bottle, 

And in a quiet corner, tete-a-tete, 

Let's drain a draught, a stream as thick as fat ; 

And while we're so engaged, let's think things over. 

Let us go, brother. 

Vishnevetsky. Yes, my friend, let's go. 

Boris Godunov 6q 



Pretender. (Enters.) Here is the fountain ; hither will 
she come. 
I was not born a coward ; I have seen 
Death near at hand, and face to face with death 
My spirit hath not blenched. A life-long dungeon 
Hath threatened me, I have been close pursued, 
And yet my spirit quailed not, and by boldness 
I have escaped captivity. But what 
Is this which now constricts my breath ? What means 
This overpowering tremor, or this quivering 
Of tense desire ? No, this is fear. All day 
I have waited for this secret meeting, pondered 
On all that I should say to her, how best 
I might enmesh Marina's haughty mind, 
Calling her queen of Moscow. But the hour 
Has come — and I remember naught, I cannot 
Recall the speeches I have learned by rote ; 
Love puts imagination to confusion — 
But something there gleamed suddenly — a rustling ; 
Hush — no, it was the moon's deceitful light, 
It was the rustling of the breeze. 

70 Boris Godunov 

Mabina. (Enters.) Tsarevich ! 

Pretender. 'Tis she. Now all the blood in me stands still. 

Marina. Dimitry ! Is it thou ? 

Pretender. Bewitching voice ! 

(Goes to her.) 
Is it thou, at last ? Is it thou I see, alone 
With me, beneath the roof of quiet night ? 
How slowly passed the tedious day ! How slowly 
The glow of evening died away ! How long 
I have waited in the gloom of night ! 

Marina. The hours 

Are flitting fast, and time is precious to me. 
I did not grant a meeting here to thee 
To listen to a lover's tender speeches. 
No need of words. I well believe thou lovest ; 
But listen ; with thy stormy, doubtful fate 
I have resolved to join my own ; but one thing, 
Dimitry, I require ; I claim that thou 
Disclose to me thy secret hopes, thy plans, 
Even thy fears, that hand in hand with thee 
I may confront life boldly — not in blindness 
Of childlike ignorance, not as the slave 

Boris Godunov 71 

And plaything of my husband's light desires, 
Thy speechless concubine, but as thy spouse, 
And worthy helpmate of the tsar of Moscow. 

Pretender. 0, if it be only for one short hour, 
Forget the cares and troubles of my fate ! 
Forget 'tis the tsarevich whom thou seest 
Before thee. 0, behold in me, Marina, 
A lover, by thee chosen, happy only 
In thy regard. 0, listen to the prayers 
Of love ! Grant me to utter all wherewith 
My heart is full. 

Marina. Prince, this is not the time ; 

Thou loiterest, and meanwhile the devotion 
Of thine adherents cooleth. Hour by hour 
Danger becomes more dangerous, difficulties 
More difficult ; already dubious rumours 
Are current, novelty already takes 
The place of novelty ; and Godunov 
Adopts his measures. 

Pretender. What is Godunov ? 

Is thy sweet love, my only blessedness, 
Swayed by Boris ? Nay, nay. Indifferently 
I now regard his throne, his kingly power. 

72 Boris Godunov 

Thy love — without it what to me is life, 
And glory's glitter, and the state of Eussia ? 
On the dull steppe, in a poor mud hut, thou — 
Thou wilt requite me for the kingly crown ; 
Thy love 

Marina. For shame ! Forget not, prince, thy high 

And sacred destiny ; thy dignity 
Should be to thee more dear than all the joys 
Of life and its allurements. It thou canst not 
With anything compare. Not to a boy, 
Insanely boiling, captured by my beauty — 
Bub to the heir of Moscow's throne give I 
My hand in solemn wise, to the tsarevich 
Rescued by destiny. 

Pretender. Torture me not, 

Charming Marina ; say not that 'twas my rank 
And not myself that thou didst choose. Marina ! 
Thou knowest not how sorely thou dost wound 
My heart thereby. What if — fearful doubt ! — 
Say, if blind destiny had not assigned me 
A kingly birth ; if I were not indeed 
Son of Ivan, were not this boy, so long 
Forgotten by the world — say, then wouldst thou 
Have loved me ? 

Boris Godunov 73 

Marina. Thou art Dimitry, and aught else 

Thou canst not be ; it is not possible 
For me to love another. 

Pretender. Nay ! enough — 

I have no wish to share with a dead body 
A mistress who belongs to him ; I have done 
With counterfeiting, and will tell the truth. 
Know, then, that thy Dimitry long ago 
Perished, was buried — and will not rise again ; 
And dost thou wish to know what man I am ? 
Well, I will tell thee. I am — a poor monk. 
Grown weary of monastic servitude, 
I pondered 'neath the cowl my bold design, 
Made ready for the world a miracle — 
And from my cell at last fled to the Cossacks, 
To their wild hovels ; there I learned to handle 
Both steeds and swords ; I showed myself to you, 
I called myself Dimitry, and deceived 
The brainless Poles. What say'st thou, proud Marina ? 
Art thou content with my confession ? Why 
Dost thou keep silence ? 

Marina. shame ! woe is me ! 


74 Boris Godunov 

Pretender. (Sotto voce.) whither hath a fit of anger 
led me ? 
The happiness devised with so much labour 
I have, perchance, destroyed for ever. Idiot, 
What have I done ? (Aloud.) I see thou art ashamed 
Of love not princely ; so pronounce on me 
The fatal word ; my fate is in thy hands. 
Decide ; I wait. 

(Falls on Ms knees.) 

Marina. Rise, poor pretender ! Think'st thou 
To please with genuflexions my vain heart, 
As if I were a weak, confiding girl ? 
You err, my friend ; prone at my feet I've seen 
Knights and counts nobly born ; but not for this 
Did I reject their prayers, that a poor monk 

Pretender. (Rises.) Scorn not the young pretender ; noble 
May lie perchance in him, virtues well worthy 
Of Moscow's throne, even of thy priceless hand 

Marina. Say of a shameful noose, insolent wretch ! 

Pretender. I am to blame ; carried away by pride 
I have deceived God and the kings — have lied 
To the world ; but it is not for thee, Marina, 

Boris Godunov 75 

To judge me ; I am guiltless before thee. 
No, I could not deceive thee. Thou to me 
Wast the one sacred being, before thee 
I dared not to dissemble ; love alone, 
Love, jealous, blind, constrained me to tell all. 

Marina. What's that to boast of, idiot ? Who demanded 
Confession of thee ? If thou, a nameless vagrant, 
Couldst wonderfully blind two nations, then 
At least thou shouldst have merited success, 
And thy bold fraud secured, by constant, deep, 
And lasting secrecy. Say, can I yield 
Myself to thee, can I, forgetting rank 
And maiden modesty, unite my fate 
With thine, when thou thyself impetuously 
Dost thus with such simplicity reveal 
Thy shame ? It was from Love he blabbed to me ! 
I marvel wherefore thou hast not from friendship 
Disclosed thyself ere now before my father, 
Or else before our king from joy, or else 
Before Prince Vishnevetsky from the zeal 
Of a devoted servant. 

Pretender. I swear to thee 

That thou alone wast able to extort 
My heart's confession ; I swear to thee that never, 

Boris Godunov 

Nowhere, not in the feast, not in the cup 

Of folly, not in friendly confidence, 

Not 'neath the knife nor tortures of the rack, 

Shall my tongue give away these weighty secrets. 

Marina. Thou swearest ! Then I must believe. Believe, 
Of course ! But may I learn by what thou swearest ? 
Is it not by the name of God, as suits 
The Jesuits' devout adopted son ? 
Or by thy honour as a high-born knight ? 
Or, maybe, by thy royal word alone 
As a king's son ? Is it not so ? Declare. 

Pretender. (Proudly.) The phantom of the Terrible hath 
made me 
His son ; from out the sepulchre hath named me 
Dimitry, hath stirred up the people round me, 
And hath consigned Boris to be my victim. 
I am tsarevich. Enough ! 'Twere shame for me 
To stoop before a haughty Polish dame. 
Farewell for ever ; the game of bloody war, 
The wide cares of rny destiny, will smother, 
I hope, the pangs of love. 0, when the heat 
Of shameful passion is o'erspent, how then 
Shall I detest thee ! Now I leave thee — ruin, 

Boris Godunav 27 

Or else a erown, awaits my head in Russia ; 
Whether I meet with death as fits a soldier 
In honourable fight, or as a miscreant 
Upon the public scaffold, thou shalt not 
Be my companion, nor shalt share with me 
My fate ; but it may be thou shalt regret 
The destiny thou hast refused. 

Mabina. But what 

If I expose beforehand thy bold fraud 
To all men ? 

Pretendek. Dost thou think I fear thee ? Think'st thou 

They will believe a Polish maiden more 
Than Russia's own tsarevich ? Know, proud lady, 
That neither king, nor pope, nor nobles trouble 
Whether my words be true, whether I be 
Dimitry or another. What care they ? 
But I provide a pretext for revolt 
And war ; and this is all they need ; and thee, 
Rebellious one, believe me, they will force 
To hold thy peace. Farewell. 

Marina. Tsarevich, stay ! 

At last I hear the speech not of a boy, 
But of a man. It reconciles me to thee. 
Prince, I forget thy senseless outburst, see 

78 Boris Godunov 

Again Dimitry. Listen ; now is the time ! 
Hasten ; delay no more, lead on thy troops 
Quickly to Moscow, purge the Kremlin, take 
Thy seat upon the throne of Moscow ; then 
Send me the nuptial envoy ; but, God hears me, 
Until thy foot be planted on its steps, 
Until by thee Boris be overthrown, 
I am not one to listen to love-speeches. 


Pretender. No — easier far to strive with Godunov, 
Or play false with the Jesuits of the Court, 
Than with a woman. Deuce take them ; they're beyond 
My power. She twists, and coils, and crawls, slips out 
Of hand, she hisses, threatens, bites. Ah, serpent ! 
Serpent ! 'Twas not for nothing that I trembled. 
She well-nigh ruined me ; but I'm resolved ; 
At daybreak I will put my troops in motion. 

Boris Godunov 79 


(October 16th, 1604) 

on horseback. Troops approach the Frontier 

Kurbsky. (Galloping at their head.) There, there it is ; 
there is the Russian frontier ! 
Fatherland ! Holy Russia ! I am thine ! 
With scorn from off my clothing now I shake 
The foreign dust, and greedily I drink 
New air ; it is my native air. father, 
Thy soul hath now been solaced ; in the grave 
Thy bones, disgraced, thrill with a sudden joy ! 
Again doth flash our old ancestral sword, 
This glorious sword — the dread of dark Kazan ! 
This good sword — servant of the tsars of Moscow ! 
Now will it revel in its feast of slaughter, 
Serving the master of its hopes. 

Pretender. (Moves quietly with bowed head.) How happy 
Is he, how flushed with gladness and with glory 
His stainless soul ! Brave knight, I envy thee ! 
The son of Kurbsky, nurtured in exile, 

80 Boris Godundv 

Forgetting all the wrongs borne by thy father, 
Redeeming his transgression in the grave, 
Ready art thou for the son of great Ivan 
To shed thy blood, to give the fatherland 
Its lawful tsar. Righteous art thou ; thy soul 
Should flame with joy. 

Kurbsky. And dost not thou likewise 

Rejoice in spirit ? There lies our Russia ; she 
Is thine, tsarevich ! There thy people's hearts 
Are waiting for thee, there thy Moscow waits, 
Thy Kremlin, thy dominion. 

Pretender. Russian blood, 

Kurbsky, first must flow ! Thou for the tsar 
Hast drawn the sword, thou art stainless ; but I lead you 
Against your brothers ; I am summoning 
Lithuania against Russia ; I am showing 
To foes the longed-for way to beauteous Moscow ! 
But let my sin fall not on me, but thee, 
Boris, the regicide ! Forward ! Set on ! 

Kurbsky. Forward ! Advance ! And woe to Godunov. 

(They gallop. The troops cross the frontier.) 

Boris Godundv 81 


The TSAR, the PATRIARCH and Boy&rs 

Tsar. Is it possible ? An unfrocked monk against us 
Leads rascal troops, a truant friar dares write 
Threats to us ! Then 'tis time to tame the madman ! 
Triibetskoy, set thou forth, and thou Basm&nov ; 
My zealous governors need help. Chernigov 
Already by the rebel is besieged ; 
Eescue the city and citizens. 

BasmAnov. Three months 

Shall not pass, Sire, ere even rumour's tongue 
Shall cease to speak of the pretender ; caged 
In iron, like a wild beast from oversea, 
We'll hale him into Moscow, I swear by God. 

(Exit with TRtJBETSKOY. 

Tsar. The Lord of Sweden hath by envoys tendered 
Alliance to me. But we have no need 
To lean on loreign aid ; we have enough 
Of our own warlike people to repel 
Traitors and Poles. I have refused. — Shehelk&lov ! 

82 Boris Godunov 

In every district to the governors 

Send edicts, that they mount their steeds, and send 

The people as of old on service ; likewise 

Ride to the monasteries, and there enlist 

The servants of the churchmen. In days of old, 

When danger faced our country, hermits freely 

Went into battle ; it is not now our wish 

To trouble them ; no, let them pray for us ; 

Such is the tsar's decree, such the resolve 

Of his boyars. And now a weighty question 

We shall determine ; ye know how everywhere 

The insolent pretender hath spread abroad 

His artful rumours ; letters everywhere, 

By him distributed, have sowed alarm 

And doubt ; seditious whispers to and fro 

Pass in the market-places ; minds are seething 

We needs must cool them ; gladly would I refrain 

From executions, but by what means and how ? 

That we will now determine. Holy father, 

Thou first declare thy thought. 

Patriarch. The Blessed One, 

The All -Highest, hath instilled into thy soul, 
Great lord, the spirit of kindness and meek patience : 
Thou wishest not perdition for the sinner, 
Thou wilt wait quietly, until delusion 

Boris Godunov 83 

Shall pass away ; for pass away it will, 

And truth's eternal sun will dawn on all. 

Thy faithful bedesman, one in worldly matters 

No prudent judge, ventures to-day to offer 

His voice to thee. This offspring of the devil, 

This unfrocked monk, has known how to appear 

Dimftry to the people. Shamelessly 

He clothed himself with the name of the tsarevich 

As with a stolen vestment. It only needs 

To tear it off — and he'll be put to shame 

By his own nakedness. The means thereto 

God hath Himself supplied. Know, sire, six years 

Since then have fled ; 'twas in that very year 

When to the seat of sovereignty the Lord 

Anointed thee — there came to me one evening 

A simple shepherd, a venerable old man, 

Who told me a strange secret. " In my young days," 

He said, " I lost my sight, and thenceforth knew not 

Nor day, nor night, till my old age ; in vain 

I plied myself with herbs and secret spells ; 

In vain did I resort in adoration 

To the great wonder-workers in the cloister ; 

Bathed my dark eyes in vain with healing water 

From out the holy wells. The Lord vouchsafed not 

Healing to me. Then lost I hope at last, 

And grew accustomed to my darkness. Even 

84 Boris Godun6v 

Slumber showed not to me things visible, 

Only of sounds I dreamed. Once in deep sleep 

I hear a childish voice ; it speaks to me : 

' Arise, grandfather, go to Uglich town, 

To the Cathedral of Transfiguration ; 

There pray over my grave. The Lord is gracious — 

And I shall pardon thee. 5 ' But who art thou ? ' 

I asked the childish voice. ' I am the tsarevich 

Dimitry, whom the Heavenly Tsar hath taken 

Into His angel band, and I am now 

A mighty wonder-worker. Go, old man.' 

I woke, and pondered. What is this ? Maybe 

God will in very deed vouchsafe to me 

Belated healing. I will go. I bent 

My footsteps to the distant road. I reached 

Uglich, repair unto the holy minster, 

Hear mass, and, glowing with zealous soul, I weep 

Sweetly, as if the blindness from mine eyes 

Were flowing out in tears. And when the people 

Began to leave, to my grandson I said : 

* Lead me, Ivan, to the grave of the tsarevich 

Dimitry. 5 The boy led me — and I scarce 

Had shaped before the grave a silent prayer, 

When sight illumed my eyeballs ; I beheld 

The light of God, my grandson, and the tomb." 

That is the tale, Sire, which the old man told. 

Boris Godunov 85 

{General agitation. In the course of this speech Boris 
several times wipes his face with his handkerchief) 
To Uglicli then I sent, where it was learned 
That many sufferers had found likewise 
Deliverance at the grave of the tsarevich. 
This is my counsel ; to the Kremlin send 
The sacred relics, place them in the Cathedral 
Of the Archangel ; clearly will the people 
See then the godless villain's fraud ; the might 
Of the fiends will vanish as a cloud of dust. 


Prince Shuisky. What mortal, holy father, knoweth the 
Of the All-Highest ? 'Tis not for me to judge Him. 
Untainted sleep and power of wonder-working 
He may upon the child's remains bestow ; 
But vulgar rumour must dispassionately 
And diligently be tested ; is it for us, 
In stormy times of insurrection, 
To weigh so great a matter ? "Will men not say 
That insolently we made of sacred things 
A worldly instrument ? Even now the people 
Sway senselessly this way and that, even now 
There are enough already of loud rumours ; 
This is no time to vex the people's minds 

86 Boris Godunov 

With aught so unexpected, grave, and strange. 

I myself see 'tis needful to demolish 

The rumour spread abroad by the unfrocked monk ; 

But for this end other and simpler means 

Will serve. Therefore, when it shall please thee, Sire, 

I will myself appear in public places, 

I will persuade, exhort away this madness, 

And will expose the vagabond's vile fraud. 

Tsar. So be it ! My lord Patriarch, I pray thee 
Go with us to the palace, where to-day 
I must converse with thee. 

(Exeunt ; all the hcy&rs follow them.) 

1st Boyar. (Sotto voce to another.) Didst mark how pale 
Our sovereign turned, how from his face there poured 
A mighty sweat ? 

2nd Boyar. I durst not, I confess, 

Uplift mine eyes, nor breathe, nor even stir. 

1st Boyar. Prince Shuisky has pulled it through. A 
splendid fellow ! 

Boris Godunov 87 


(December 21st, 1604) 


Soldiers. {Run in disorder.) Woe, woe ! The Tsarevich ! 
The Poles ! There they are ! There they are ! 

(Captains enter : Marzheret and Walther Rozen.) 

Marzheret. Whither, whither ? Allons ! Go back ! 

One of the Fugitives. You go back, if you like, cursed 

Marzheret. Quoi, quoi ? 

Another. Kva ! kva ! You like, you frog from over the 
sea, to croak at the Russian tsarevich ; but we — we are 

MArzheret. Qu'est-ce a dire " orthodox " ? Sacres gueux, 
maudite canaille ! Mordieu, mein Herr, j 'enrage ; on 
dirait que ca n'a pas de bras pour frapper, ca n'a que des 
jambes pour fuir. 

88 Boris Godunov 

Rozen. Es ist Schande. 

MArzheret. Ventre-saint gris ! Je ne bouge plus d'un pas ; 
puisque le vin est tire, il f aut le boire. Qu'en dites-vous, 
mein Herr ? 

Rozen. Sie haben Recht. 

Marzheret. Tudieu, il y fait chaud ! Ce diable de " Pre- 
tender," comme ils Pappellent, est un bougre, qui a du 
poil au col ? — Qu'en pensez-vous, mein Herr ? 

Rozen. Ja. 

Marzheret. He ! voyez done, voyez done ! I/action s'en- 
gage sur les derrieres de Pennemi. Ce doit etre le brave 
Basmanov, qui aurait fait une sortie. 

Rozen. Ich glaube das. 

(Enter Germans.) 

Marzheret. Ha, ha ! voici nos allemands. Messieurs ! 
Mein Herr, dites-leur done de se raillier et, sacrebleu, 
chargeons ! 

Rozen. Sehr gut. Halt ! (The Germans halt.) Marsch ! 

The Germans. (They march.) Hilf Gott ! 

(Fight. The Russians flee again.) 

Boris Godunov 89 

Poles. Victory ! Victory ! Glory to the tsar Dimitry ! 

Dimitry. (On horseback.) Cease fighting. We have con- 
quered. Enough ! Spare Eussian blood. Cease 

90 Boris Godunov 




One of the People. Will the tsar soon come out of the 
cathedral ? 

Another. The mass is ended ; now the Te Deum is going on. 

The First. What ! have they already cursed him ? 

The Second. I stood in the porch and heard how the deacon 
cried out : — Grishka Otrepiev is anathema ! 

The First. Let him curse to his heart's content ; the 
tsarevich has nothing to do with the Otrepiev. 

The Second. But they are now singing mass for the repose 
of the soul of the tsarevich. 

The First. What ? A mass for the dead sung for a living 
man ? They'll suffer for it, the godless wretches ! 

Boris Godunov 91 

A Third. Hist ! A sound. Is it not the tsar ? 

A Fourth. No, it is the idiot. 

(An idiot enters, in an iron cap, hang round with 
chains, surrounded by boys.) 

The Boys. Nick, Nick, iron nightcap ! T-r-r-r-r 

Old Woman. Let him be, you young devils. Innocent one, 
pray thou for me a sinner. 

Idiot. Give, give, give a penny. 

Old Woman. There is a penny for thee ; remember me in 
thy prayers. 

Idiot. (Seats himself on the ground and sings :) 

The moon sails on, 

The kitten cries, 

Nick, arise, 
Pray to God. 

(The boys surround him again.) 

One of Them. How do you do, Nick ? Why don't you 
take off your cap ? 

(Raps him on the iron cap.) 
How it rings ! 

Idiot. But I have got a penny. 

92 Boris Godunov 

Boys. That's not true ; now, show it. 

{They snatch the fenny and run away,) 

Idiot. (Weeps.) They have taken my penny, they are 
hurting Nick. 

The People. The tsar, the tsar is coming ! 

(The Tsar comes out from the Cathedral ; a boyar in 
front of him scatters alms among the poor. Boyars.) 

Idiot. Boris, Boris ! The boys are hurting Nick. 

Tsar. Give him alms ! What is he crying for ? 

Idiot. The boys are hurting me . . . Give orders to slay 
them, as thou slewest the little tsarevich. 

Boyars. Go away, fool ! Seize the fool ! 

Tsar. Leave him alone. Pray thou for me, Nick. 


Idiot. (To himself) No, no ! It is impossible to pray for 
tsar Herod ; the Mother of God forbids it. 

Boris Godunov 93 

The PRETENDER, surrounded by his supporters 

Pretender. Where is the prisoner ? 

A Pole. Here. 

Pretender. Call him before me. 

(A Russian prisoner enters.) 
Who art thou ? 

Prisoner. Eozhnov, a nobleman of Moscow. 

Pretender. Hast long been in the service ? 

Prisoner. About a month. 

Pretender. Art not ashamed, Rozhnov, that thou hast 
The sword against me ? 

Prisoner. What else could I do ? 

'Twas not our fault. 

Pretender. Didst fight beneath the walls 

Of SSversk ? 

94 Boris Godunov 

Prisoner. 'Twas two weeks after the battle 

I came from Moscow. 

Pretender. What of Godunov ? 

Prisoner. The battle's loss, Mstislavsky ? s wound, hath 
caused him 
Much apprehension ; Shuisky he hath sent 
To take command. 

Pretender. But why hath he recalled 

Basmanov unto Moscow ? 

Prisoner. The tsar rewarded 

His services with honour and with gold. 
Basmanov in the council of the tsar 

Now sits. 

Pretender. The army had more need of him. 
Well, how go things in Moscow ? 

Prisoner. All is quiet, 

Thank God. 

Pretender. Say, do they look for me ? 

Boris Godunov 95 

Prisoner. God knows ; 

They dare not talk too much, there now. Of some 
The tongues have been cut off, of others even 
The heads. It is a fearsome state of things — 
Each day an execution. All the prisons 
Are crammed. Wherever two or three forgather 
In public places, instantly a spy 
Worms himself in ; the tsar himself examines 
At leisure the denouncers. It is just 
Sheer misery : so silence is the best. 

Pretender. An enviable life for the tsar's people ! 
Well, how about the army ? 

Prisoner. What of them ? 

Clothed and full-fed they are content with all. 

Pretender. But is there much of it ? 

Prisoner. God knows. 

Pretender. All told 

Will there be thirty thousand ? 

Prisoner. Yes ; 'twill run 

Even to fifty thousand. 

(The Pretender reflects ; those around him glance at 
one another,) 

96 Boris Godunov 

Pretender. Well ! Of me 

What say they in your camp ? 

Prisoner. Your graciousness 

They speak of ; say that thou, Sire, (be not wrath), 
Art a thief, but a fine fellow. 

Pretender. (Laughing.) Even so 

I'll prove myself to them in deed. My friends, 
We will not wait for Shuisky ; I wish you joy ; 
To-morrow, battle. 


All. Long life to Dimitry ! 

A Pole. To-morrow, battle ! They are fifty thousand, 
And we scarce fifteen thousand. He is mad ! 

Another. That's nothing, friend. A single Pole can 
Five hundred Muscovites. 

Prisoner. Yes, thou mayst challenge ! 

But when it comes to fighting, then, thou braggart, 
Thou'lt run away. 

Pole. If thou hadst had a sword, 

Insolent prisoner, then (pointing to his sword) with this 

I'ld soon 
Have vanquished thee. 

Boris Godunov 97 

Prisoner. A Russian can make shift 

Without a sword ; how like you this (shows his fist), you 

(The Pole looks at him haughtily and departs in 
silence. All laugh.) 

93 Boris Godutiov 



(In the background lies a dying horse) 

Pretender. Ah, my poor horse ! How gallantly he charged 
To-day in the last battle, and when wounded, 
How swiftly bore me. My poor horse ! 

PtJSHKiN. (To himself.) Well, here's 

A great ado about a horse, when all 
Our army's smashed to bits. 

Pretender. Listen ! Perhaps 

He's but exhausted by the loss of blood, 
And will recover. 

PtJSHKiN. Nay, nay ; he is dying. 

Pretender. (Goes to his horse.) 

My poor horse ! — what to do ? Take off the bridle, 
And loose the girth. Let him at least die free. 

(He unbridles and unsaddles the horse. Some Poles 
Good day to you, gentlemen ! How is't I see not 

Boris Godunov gg 

Kiirbsky among you ? I did note to-day 

How to the thick of the fight he clove his path ; 

Around the hero's sword, like swaying ears 

Of corn, hosts thronged ; but higher than all of them 

His blade was brandished, and his terrible cry 

Drowned all cries else. Where is my knight ? 

A Pole. He fell 

On the field of battle. 

Pretender. Honour to the brave, 

And peace be on his soul ! How few unscathed 
Are left us from the fight ! Accursed Cossacks, 
Traitors and miscreants, you, you it is 
Have ruined us ! Not even for three minutes 
To keep the foe at bay ! I'll teach the villains ! 
Every tenth man I'll hang. Brigands ! 

Pushkin. Whoe'er 

Be guilty, all the same we were clean worsted, 
Routed ! 

Pretender. But yet we nearly conquered. Just 

When I had dealt with their front rank, the Germans 
Repulsed us utterly. But they're fine fellows ! 
By God ! fine fellows ! I love them for it. From them 
I'll form an honourable troop. 

ioo Boris Godunov 

Pushkin. And where 

Shall we now spend the night ? 

Pretender. Why, here, in the forest. 

Why not this for our night quarters ? At daybreak 
We'll take the road, and dine in Eilsk. Good-night. 

{He lies down, 'puts a saddle under his head, and falls 

PtJsHKiN. A pleasant sleep, tsarevich ! Smashed to bits, 
Rescued by flight alone, he is as careless 
As a simple child ; 'tis clear that Providence 
Protects him, and we, my friends, will not lose heart. 

Boris Godunov 101 



Tsar. He is vanquished, but what profit lies in that ? 

We are crowned with a vain conquest ; he has mustered 

Again his scattered forces, and anew 

Threatens us from the ramparts of Putivl. 

Meanwhile what are our heroes doing ? They stand 

At Krom, where from its rotten battlements 

A band of Cossacks braves them. There is glory ! 

No, I am ill content with them ; thyself 

I shall despatch to take command of them ; 

I give authority not to birth, but brains. 

Their pride of precedence, let it be wounded ! 

The time has come for me to hold in scorn 

The murmur of distinguished nobodies, 

And quash pernicious custom. 

Basmanov. Ay, my lord 

Blessed a hundredfold will be that day 
When fire consumes the lists of noblemen 
With their dissensions, their ancestral pride. 

102 Boris Godunov 

Tsar. That day is not far off ; let me but first 
Subdue the insurrection of the people. 

Basmanov. Why trouble about that ? The people always 
Are prone to secret treason ; even so 
The swift steed champs the bit ; so doth a lad 
Chafe at his father's ruling. But what then ? 
The rider quietly controls the steed, 
The father sways the son. 

Tsar. Sometimes the horse 

Doth throw the rider, nor is the son at all times 
Quite 'neath the father's will ; we can restrain 
The people only by unsleeping sternness. 
So thought Ivan, sagacious autocrat 
And storm-subduer ; so his fierce grandson thought. 
No, no, kindness is lost upon the people ; 
Act well — it thanks you not at all ; extort 
And execute — 'twill be no worse for you. 

{Enter a boyar.) 
"What now ? 

Boyar. The foreign guests are come. 

Tsar. I go 

To welcome them. Basmanov, wait, stay here ; 
I still have need to speak a word with thee. 


Boris Godunov 103 

BasmAnov. High sovereign spirit ! God grant he may 
The accurst Otrepiev ; and much, still much 
Of good he'll do for Russia. A great thought 
Within his mind has taken birth ; it must not 
Be suffered to grow cold. What a career 
For me when the ancestral horn he breaks 
Of the nobility. I have no rivals 
In war. I shall stand closest to the throne — 
And it may chance — But what is that strange 
sound ? 

(Alarum. Boyars and court-attendants run in 
disorder, meet each other and whisper.) 

One. Fetch a physician ! 

Another. Quickly to the Patriarch ! 

A Third. He calls for the tsarevich, the tsarevich ! 

A Fourth. A confessor ! 

BasmAnov. What has happened ? 

A Fifth and Sixth. The tsar is ill, 

The tsar is dying. 

BasmAnov. Good God ! 

104 Boris Godunov 

A Fifth. Upon the throne 

He sat, and suddenly he fell ; blood gushed 
From his mouth and ears. 

{The Tsak is carried in on a chair. All the Tsar's 
household ; all the boyars.) 

Tsar. Let all depart — alone 

Leave the tsarevich with me. {All withdraw.) I am dying; 

Let us embrace. Farewell, my son ; this hour 

Thou wilt begin to reign. — God, my God ! 

This hour I shall appear before Thy presence — 

And have no time to purge my soul with shrift. 

But yet, my son, I feel thou art dearer to me 

Than is my soul's salvation — be it so ! 

A subject was I born ; it needs must be 

That in the darkness I should die a subject. 

Yet I attained to sovereignty ; but how ? 

Ask not. Enough that thou art innocent. 

In justice now thou'lt reign ; and I alone 

Am answerable for all to God. Dear son, 

Cherish no false delusion, of thy free will 

Blind not thyself. Stormy the days wherein 

Thou dost assume the crown. He is dangerous, 

This strange pretender ; with a fearful name 

He is armed. For many a year experienced 

Boris Godundv 105 

In rule, I could restrain revolt and treason ; 
They quaked with fear before me ; treachery 
Dared not to raise its voice ; but thou, a boy, 
An inexperienced ruler, how wilt thou 
Govern amid the tempests, quench revolt, 
Shackle sedition ? But God is great ! He gives 
Wisdom to youth, to weakness strength.— Give ear ; 
Firstly, select a steadfast counsellor, 
Of cool, ripe years, loved of the people, honoured 
Mid the boyars for birth and fame — even Shuisky. 
The army craves to-day a skilful leader ; 
Basmanov send, and firmly bear the murmurs 
Of the boyars. Thou from thy early years 
Didst sit with me in council, thou dost know 
The formal course of government ; change not 
Procedure. Custom is the soul of states. 
Of late I have been forced to reinstate 
Bans, executions — these thou canst rescind ; 
And they will bless thee, as they blessed thy uncle 
When he obtained the throne of the Terrible. 
At the same time, little by little, tighten 
Anew the reins of government ; now slacken, 
But let them not slip from thy hands. Be gracious, 
Accessible to foreigners, accept 
Their service trustfully. Preserve wifch strictness 
The Church's discipline. Ee taciturn ; 

io6 Boris Godundv 

The royal voice must never lose itself 

Upon the air in emptiness, but like 

A sacred bell must sound but to announce 

Some great disaster or great festival. 

Dear son, thou art approaching to those years 

When woman's beauty agitates our blood. 

Preserve, preserve the sacred purity 

Of innocence and proud shamefacedness ; 

He, who through passion has been wont to wallow 

In vicious pleasures in his youthful days, 

Becomes in manhood bloodthirsty and surly ; 

His mind untimely darkens. Of thy household 

Be always head ; show honour to thy mother, 

But rule thy house thyself ; thou art a man 

And tsar to boot. Be loving to thy sister — 

Thou wilt be left of her the sole protector. 

Fe6dor. (On his knees.) No, no ; live on, my father, and 
reign long ; 
Without thee both the folk and we will perish. 

Tsar. All is at end for me — mine eyes grow dark, 

I feel the coldness of the grave 

(Enter the Patriarch and prelates ; behind them all 
the boyars lead the Tsaritsa by the hand ; the 
Tsarevna is sobbing.) 

Who's there ? 

Boris Godunov 107 

Ah, 'tis the vestment — so ! the holy tonsure — 

The hour has struck. The tsar becomes a monk, 

And the dark sepulchre will be my cell. 

Wait yet a little, my lord Patriarch, 

I still am tsar. Listen to me, boyars : 

To this my son I now commit the tsardom ; 

Do homage to Feodor. Basmanov, thou, 

And ye, my friends, on the grave's brink I pray you 

To serve my son with zeal and rectitude ! 

As yet he is both young and uncorrupted. 

Swear ye ? 

Boyars. We swear. 

Tsar. I am content. Forgive me 

Both my temptations and my sins, my wilful 
And secret injuries. — Now, holy father, 
Approach thou ; I am ready for the rite. 

(The rite of the tonsure begins. The women are 
carried out swooning.) 

io8 Boris Godunov 



Basmanov. Here enter, and speak freely. So to me 
He sent thee. 

PtJSHKiN. He doth, offer thee his friendship 

And the next place to his in the realm of Moscow. 

Basmanov. But even thus highly by Feodor am I 
Already raised ; the army I command ; 
For me he scorned nobility of rank 
And the wrath of the boyars. I have sworn to him 

PtJSHKiN. To the throne's lawful successor 

Allegiance thou hast sworn ; but what if one 
More lawful still be living ? 

Basmanov. Listen, Pushkin : 

Enough of that ; tell me no idle tales ! 
I know the man. 

Boris Godunov 109 

PtJSHKiN. Eussia and Lithuania 

Have long acknowledged him to be Dimitry ; 
But, for the rest, I do not vouch for it. 
Perchance he is indeed the real Dimitry ; 
Perchance but a pretender ; only this 
I know, that soon or late the son of Boris 
Will yield Moscow to him. 

BasmAnov. So long as I 

Stand by the youthful tsar, so long he will not 
Forsake the throne. We have enough of troops, 
Thank God ! With victory I will inspire them, 
And whom will you against me send, the Cossack 
Karel or Mnishek ? Are your numbers many ? 
In all, eight thousand. 

Pushkin. You mistake ; they will not 

Amount even to that. I say myself 
Our army is mere trash, the Cossacks only 
Eob villages, the Poles but brag and drink ; 
The Eussians — what shall I say ? — with you I'll not 
Dissemble ; but, Basmanov, dost thou know 
Wherein our strength lies ? Not in the army, no, 
Nor Polish aid, but in opinion—yes, 
In popular opinion. Dost remember 
The triumph of Dimitry, dost remember 

no Boris Godunov 

His peaceful conquests, when, without a blow 

The docile towns surrendered, and the mob 

Bound the recalcitrant leaders ? Thou thyself 

Saw'st it ; was it of their free-will our troops 

Fought with him ? And when did they so ? Boris 

Was then supreme. But would they now ? — Nay, nay, 

It is too late to blow on the cold embers 

Of this dispute ; with all thy wits and firmness 

Thou'lt not withstand him. Were't not better for thee 

To furnish to our chief a wise example, 

Proclaim Dimitry tsar, and by that act 

Bind him your friend for ever ? How thinkest thou ? 

BasmAnov. To-morrow thou shalt know. 

Pushkin. Resolve. 

BasmAnov. Farewell. 

PtJSHKiN. Ponder it well, Basmanov. 


BasmAnov. He is right. 

Everywhere treason ripens ; what shall I do ? 
Wait, that the rebels may deliver me 
In bonds to the Otrepiev % Had I not better 
Forestall the stormy onset of the flood, 
Myself to — ah ! but to forswear mine oath ! 

Boris Godunov in 

Dishonour to deserve from age to age ! 

The trust of my young sovereign to requite 

With horrible betrayal ! "Tis a light thing 

For a disgraced exile to meditate 

Sedition and conspiracy ; but I ? 

Is it for me, the favourite of my lord ? — 

But death — but power — the people's miseries . . . 

(He ponders.) 
Here ! Who is there ? (Whistles.) A horse here ! 
Sound the muster ! 

ii2 Boris Godun6v 


PUSHKIN enters, surrounded by the people 

The People. The tsarevich a boyar hath sent to us. 
Let's hear what the boy&r will tell us. Hither ! 
Hither ! 

Pushkin. (On a flatform.) Townsmen of Moscow ! The 
Bids me convey his greetings to you. (He bows.) Ye 

How Divine Providence saved the tsarevich 
From out the murderer's hands ; he went to punish 
His murderer, but God's judgment hath already 
Struck down Boris. All Russia hath submitted 
Unto Dimitry ; with heartfelt repentance 
Basm&nov hath himself led forth his troops 
To swear allegiance to him. In love, in peace 
Dimitry comes to you. Would ye, to please 
The house of Godunov, uplift a hand 
Against the lawful tsar, against the grandson 
Of Monomakh ? 

Boris Godunov 113 

The People. Not we. 

PtJSHKiN. Townsmen of Moscow ! 

The world well knows how much ye have endured 
Under the rule of the cruel stranger ; ban, 
Dishonour, executions, taxes, hardships, 
Hunger — all these ye have experienced. 
Dimitry is disposed to show you favour, 
Courtiers, boyars, state-servants, soldiers, strangers, 
Merchants — and every honest man. Will ye 
Be stubborn without reason, and in pride 
Flee from his kindness ? But he himself is coming 
To his ancestral throne with dreadful escort. 
Provoke not ye the tsar to wrath, fear God, 
And swear allegiance to the lawful ruler ; 
Humble yourselves ; forthwith send to Dimitry 
The Metropolitan, deacons, boyars, 
And chosen men, that they may homage do 
To their lord and father. 

(Exit. Clamour of the People.) 

The People. What is to be said ? 

The boy&r spake truth. Long live Dimitry, our father \ 

ii4 Boris Godundv 

A Peasant on the Platform. People ! To the Kremlin ! 
To the Royal palace ! 
The whelp of Boris go bind ! 

The People. (Rushing in a crowd,) 

Bind, drown him ! Hail 
Dimitry ! Perish the race of Godunov ! 

Boris Godunov 115 


A GUARD on the Staircase. FEODOR at 
a Window 

Beggar. Give alms, for Christ's sake ! 

Guard. Go away ; it is forbidden to speak to the prisoners. 

Fe6dor. Go, old man, I am poorer than thou ; thou art at 

(Ksenia, veiled, also comes to the window.) 

One of the People. Brother and sister — poor children, like 
birds in a cage. 

Second Person. Are you going to pity them ? Accursed 
family ! 

First Person. The father was a villain, but the children are 

Second Person. The apple does not fall far from the 

1 1 6 Boris Godunov 

Ksenia. Dear brother ! dear brother ! I think the boyars 
are coming to us. 

Fe6dor. That is Golitsin, Mosalsky. I do not know the 

Ksenia. Ah ! dear brother, my heart sinks. 

(Golitsin, Mosalsky, Molchanov, and Sherefedinov ; 
behind them three archers.) 

The People. Make way, make way ; the boyars come. 

(They enter the house.) 

One op the People. What have they come for ? 

Second. Most like to make Feodor Godunov take the oath. 

Third. Very like. Hark ! what a noise in the house ! 
What an uproar ! They are fighting ! 

The People. Do you hear ? A scream ! That was a 

woman's voice. We will go up. We will go up ! — The 

doors are fastened— the cries cease — the noise continues. 

(The doors are thrown open. Mosalsky appears on 

the staircase.) 

Boris Godunov 117 

Mosalsky. People ! Maria Godunov and her son Feodor 
have poisoned themselves. We have seen their dead 

(The People are silent with horror.) 
Why are ye silent ? Cry, Long live the tsar Dimitry 
Ivanovich ! 

(The People are speechless.)